August 25 Picture of the Day–Villa d’Este

In front of one of the large fountains at Villa d'Este.

In front of one of the large fountains at Villa d'Este.

We took a wonderful day trip from Rome to the Villa d’Este in nearby Tivoli. If you drove straight there (i.e., without getting lost), it would be about a 25 minute drive.

The Villa d’Este is a lovely country estate of the late Cardinal Ippolito d’Este. He was wealthy and powerful enough not only to be a Cardinal, but to build his grand and glorious Villa on top of Roman ruins near Hadrian’s Villa, and, better yet, to enlist the aid of the incomparable Gianlorenzo Bernini to design most of the gardens and many of the fountains.

This was a wonderful respite from our long marches through Rome. Even though the Villa d’Este has several hundred fountains (of various sizes–they are not all as big as the one pictured, although two or three are larger), it is easy to stroll up and down the gardens in a quiet hour or two.

We almost got kicked out by an incensed guard who discovered us trying to eat a purloined picnic on the grounds. (I guess you are supposed to buy food from the cafe, not bring your own.) Other than this bit of lawlessness, we enjoyed a relaxing day.

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