Villa d’Este, masterpiece of the Italian Garden, is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. With its impressive concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music, it constitutes a much-copied model for European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles.
The splendid garden, a marvellous work fruit of Pirro Ligorio’s genius, spreads out from the posterior facade of the villa, considering today’s entrance of the palace, and consists of terraces and slopes, with a central axis and subsidiary cross-axes that connect the various slopes of the garden, using the typical architectonic model of the Roman cities. The original entrance was once placed, more evocatively, on the ancient Via del Colle, close to the church of Saint Peter, whose apse leans against a side of the garden, giving much more magnificence and suggestion to the complex.
The original design, in addition to the splendid landscape visible from several planes of the garden, to the fountains with their splendid water plays, to the luxuriant trees and several species of plants, made the garden of Villa d’Este one of the most beautiful and famous ones, and became a model for the future.
This was a long, very demanding job for Ligorio: he used the old walls of the city as a buttress for the embankment, and solved the problem of bringing a sufficient water supply by calculating the exact amount needed. The fountains he had projected needed a great quantity of water to work, and Ligorio built a system of pipes and a long gallery of approximately six hundred meters, under the city of Tivoli, that brought the water from the Aniene to a basin: its capacity was of 300 litres per second. All the fountains, then, were supplied without using any mechanical device, but only thanks to the natural pressure and the principle of communicating vessels. Today, the result is only partially visible, but numbers are amazing: a total of 35,000 square metres of garden, 250 jets, 60 water pools, 255 waterfalls, 100 basins, 50 fountains, 20 exedras and terraces, 300 floodgates, 30,000 plants with seasonal rotation, 150 age-old forest trees, 15,000 ornamental perennial plants and trees, 9,000 square metres of paths.
Hadrian's Villa is a large Roman villa built in Tivoli (approximately 20 kilometres from Rome) by the emperor Hadrian. Hadrian, who had received a strong education by his Hellenistic preceptors, from his earliest youth, had been struck by the oriental, classical culture of Greece.
This made him have an absolutist view of the role of emperor. This is the reason why, in order to part from people and subjects (as he meant it), he decided to erect this imposing construction, that still remains an important historical heritage and a proof of the Roman’s building skills.
Around the swimming pool there are the Roman copies of the statues of the Erectheum, turned towards the swimming pool instead of towards visitors, thus creating charming reflections on the water surface. In 1999, Hadrian's Villa was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.