Famous gardens are often places of unparalleled enchantment. As you move through the grounds, your prevalent feeling is the desire to linger in each nook and cranny for ever and ever, to let the sculpted harmony of nature and architecture immerse you in their alternate reality of serenity and surpassing beauty.
The gardens at Villa d’Este, in the Roman suburb of Tivoli, are the ultimate example of that. In fact, the palace and gardens are recognized on the UNESCO List as the template and major influence for subsequent garden development, in addition to being fine examples of the best of the Renaissance.
We expressly set aside time for visiting Villa d’Este on our very first visit to Rome. We had limited frame of reference then in regards to formal gardens, and Villa d’Este did not fail to bowl us over with its terraces, fountains, flora and architecture. In the years since, we have acquired a significant measure of familiarity with gardens all over the Europe, and still Villa d’Este would probably come to mind as near the top among such attractions.
Our limited film-based photography left few recorded impressions for our archives from that visit. Here are a couple of shots nonetheless.
A proper exploration of Villa d’Este requires somewhere in the vicinity of at least three hours. Using public transport to get to Tivoli from Rome is possible, adding an hour to two on each side of the trip.