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Not far from Rome, Tivoli is the home of some extraordinary examples of ancient and modern architecture, and if Hadrian’s villa represents the best that an emperor could build, Villa d’Este represents the pinnacle of construction commissioned by a Cardinal, in this case Cardinal d’Este, who ordered the construction of a garden rich in water lilies, grottos, fountains and water games, an unrivalled model of landscape gardening. Nominated governor of Tivoli, Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, son of Alfonso I and Lucrezia Borgia, decided to transform this ancient and austere Benedictine convent, seat of the governor of the Tivoli, into a fantastic residence worthy of a prince or a Pope. He commissioned the architect Pirro Ligorio to give shape to his idea. Accompanied by numerous artists and craftsmen, Ligorio designed a site in which the Palazzo, with an interior frescoed by some of the greatest painters of the time, is just one element in a vast property, dominated by the garden that is articulated into different terraces and avenues, punctuated by fountains (all powered using a system of communicating tanks), artificial grottos and water games, according to the model of the times. Here then, during a walk around the villa visitors can see Diana’s grotto completely decorated with mosaics and plasterwork, or the fountain of the Bicchierone, created by Bernini in 1661, the Pegasus Fountain with the mythical horse appearing as if it were about to fly up into the air, or the Fountain of the Dragons, which tradition states was built in just one night in order to celebrate the visit of Pope Gregory XIII (the arms of whom are on display above the dragons) to the villa in 1572. The infinite spectacle of the Organ Fountain, the internal mechanism of which, powered by the falling water, move the keys of the organ to play an enchanting melody.




Professional Guide


Car Transfer from Termini Station

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Starts: 9:30 or 15:00

Ends: 12:30 or 18:00

Duration: 3 hours



Group: Max 4 adults

Private: Max 4 adults

Group Price: NA

Private Price: 400€

Meeting Point:


Piazza Esedra corner with

via Nazionale