Lake Bolsena - Jewel in the Heart of Italy

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Villa D Este

Great Renaissance Gardens

No visit to Lazio's famous Renaissance gardens is complete without a visit to the hill town of Tivoli, favourite summer retreat of nobles and Cardinals. The crowning glory of all residences is, without a doubt, the summer palace Villa d'Este.

Power today is measured in currency prices and the ability to project a military footprint on the other side of the world, yet in 1550 the creation of a masterpiece garden was seen as being just as potent. If Villa d'Este is astounding today, it was a near miracle at the time of its creation; its magnificent water gardens being powered purely by gravity, as they still are today. Its creator was Cardinal Ippolito II d' Este, one of the most powerful men in the Western hemisphere. Only the ultimate crown of Pontiff alluded him and it is said that, in the struggles to take the ultimate seat, he created the gardens as a demonstration of his wealth and potency.

These gardens have been seminal in influencing the trend and design of formal gardens over the centuries ever since. The d'Este garden design pays homage to the original gardens at the nearby Villa Adriana, the personal creation of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

Villa d'Este is just stunning as these photographs show.

From the top balcony it is just possible to see the dome of St Peter rising out of the city haze in the distance and no doubt, the Cardinal must have stood gazing out at it wondering when the call would come, but it never did.

Tivoli is about 2 hours drive from Bolsena, lying about 10 miles due East of Rome.


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