Tivoli Travel Blog› entry 7 of 16 › view all entries
September 30th, 2000 – by: lorenzmartins
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.
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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