Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Travel Blog

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the 100 fountains
The Villa d'Este is a villa situated at Tivoli, near Rome. Listed as aUnesco world heritage site, it is a masterpiece of Italian architecture and especially Garden design.

The garden plan is laid out on a central axis with subsidiary cross-axes of carefully varied character, refreshed by some five hundred jets in fountains, pools and water troughs. The copious water is supplied by the Aniene, which is partly diverted through the town, a distance of a kilometer, and by the Rivellese spring, which supplies a cistern under the villa's courtyard.
The Villa's uppermost terrace ends in a balustraded balcony at the left end, with a sweeping view over the plain below.
from the top of the fountain of Neptune
Symmetrical double flights of stairs flanking the central axis lead to the next garden terrace, with the Grotto of Diana, richly decorated with frescoes and pebble mosaic to one side and the central Fontana del Bicchierone ("Fountain of the Great Cup") loosely attributed to Bernini, where water issues from a seemingly natural rock into a scrolling shell-like cup.

To descend to the next level, the visitor is required to take stairs at either end— the elaborate fountain complex called the Rometta ("the little Rome") is at the far left— to view the full length of the Hundred Fountains on the next level, where the water jets fill the long rustic trough, and Pirro Ligorio's Fontana dell'Ovato ends the cross-vista (illustration, right). A visitor may walk behind the water through the rusticated arcade of the concave nymphaeum, which is peopled by marble nymphas. Above the nymphaeum, the sculpture of Pegasus recalls to the visitor the fountain of Hippocrene on Parnassus, haunt of the Muses.

This terrace is united to the next by the central Fountain of the Dragons, dominating the central perspective of the gardens, erected for a visit in 1572 of Pope Gregory XIII whose coat-of-arms features a dragon. Central stairs lead down a wooded slope to three rectangular fishponds set on the cross-axis at the lowest point of the gardens, terminated at the right by the water organ and Fountain of Neptune.
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the 100 fountains
the 100 fountains
from the top of the fountain of Ne…
from the top of the fountain of N…
fountain of Neptune and pool
fountain of Neptune and pool
the 100 fountains
the 100 fountains
fountain of Neptune
fountain of Neptune
fountain del Bicchierone
fountain del Bicchierone
Tivoli
photo by: davidx