I have an ongoing love affair with gardens. And who better to have a love affair with than an a Italian? English gardens, while lovely, seem to lack the lushness of their Italian counter parts. I appreciate the order and no nonsense approach to the clutter free botany of a Japanese zen garden; however, I truly adore the ordered symmetry combined with sex appeal that only “giardino Italiano” can provide.
While in Italy, Mr. V and I took a day to visit the Villa d’Este and the gardens at Tivoli, a small town just a short drive from Rome. I had read about the gardens, and seen pictures, but nothing could prepare me for the magnificent views and breath taking countryside.
The villa and surrounding landscape was started in 1550 by Cardinal d’Este, son of Alfonso d’Este and Lucrezia Borgia. Work carried on past 1572, the year the Cardinal died, and wasn’t complete until the 17th Century. The design combines Late Renaissance and Baroque elements.
In the 18th Century, the Villa passed to the House of Hapsburg and fell into decay. The gardens were abandoned and most of the statues were dispersed across Europe.
Gustav von Hohelohe brought it back from ruin in the middle of the 19th Century. After WWI, it became property of the Italian State and has been open to the public since. During WWII, extensive bombing necessitated repairs and restoration that continue to this day.
My pictures don’t do this very special place justice. And even books on the subject can’t capture the peaceful feeling one has sitting on an umbrella pine shaded bench overlooking the hillside which is populated with Benedictine Monasteries.
The lavender Wisteria that twists in the soft Italian breeze are a delicious contrast to the moss covered statuary and greige stonework.
I really could have stayed there for weeks on end and was sad to go. The only good thing about leaving a place you love is the hope that you will find another place equally as charming on your next adventure.
And as always in a terraced garden…watch your step.
Thanks for reading,
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