Villa d’Este dates back to Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este in the 16th century. He had the idea of setting a garden below his palace, which was built in a former Benedictine monastery.
Villa and gardens were rebuilt and embellished several times and later became property in Habsburg. Franz Liszt composed his water music here. The Jardin de Tivoli in Paris and the Tivoli in Copenhagen are inspired by Villa d’Este. The villa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tivoli is about 19 miles from Rome.
The Palace of the Villa d’Este
The palace of the villa is embellished with decorations and paintings by a number of 16th century artists. On the level of the entrance from the city is the “Appartamento Nobile”, the noble apartment. From the balcony of the central salon you have a wonderful view over the garden and the Tiber Valley to the Monti Sabatini, the Sabatine mountains in the north of Rome.
On the lower floor is the “Appartamento Inferiore”, the lower apartment, from where you can descend into the garden.
The garden of Villa d’Este
Most visitors come to the villa to admire the numerous fountains and water games. The water is passed from the River Aniene through an underground canal to the villa that ends at the Ovato Fountain.
The Ovato Fountain, as seen from the villa, is located on the right side of the hundred wells boulevard – the Viale delle cento fontane. It owes its name to its oval half-round shape. It is also called Tivoli Fountain.
At the other end of the hundred wells is the Rometta fountain – also called Rome Fountain. Here was illustrated a panorama of ancient Rome. Today only a few parts are preserved. On the right side of the fountain, the city of Rome sits in armor, below a ship.
In the center under the hundred wells boulevard is the Dragon’s Fountain. The dragons spout the water in high fountains. Above the hundred wells is the recently restored Chalice Fountain – Fontana del Bicchierone.
As you continue from the Ovato Fountain, you will come to the Organ Fountain. The organ plays every two hours starting at 10:30am. Under the Organ Fountain are caves and the imposing Neptune Fountain. This well creates a constant fresh breeze with its fountains and waterfalls.
Underneath the Neptune Fountain are three fish basins and on the other side you can see the Tiber valley. In the garden there are more fountains and centuries-old cypresses.
The opening hours of Villa d’Este
The villa is closed on Mondays, if the Monday is not a holiday. The villa is closed on 25th December and 1st January. In the summer the villa is also sometimes open on Monday. Furthermore, the villa will be open on a few days from July to October also in the evening.
Said that, the following admission times apply – the villa closes one hour later:
November – January 8:30am-4pm
May – August 8:30am-6:45pm
How to get to Villa d’Este
You can easily reach Villa d’Este with the regional buses of COTRAL.
Departure is in Rome from the metro station of line B Ponte Mammolo in the direction of Tivoli. The journey takes about 50 minutes. You can buy the ticket at the COTRAL ticket counter for round trip. In the bus the ticket costs much more. With the metrebus card you need a ticket for three zones (daily ticket BIRG).
There are also train connections to Tivoli from Termini station and Tiburtina train station. The journey time is approximately one hour. The Tivoli train station is a bit out of the way and the walk to the villa is around 15 minutes.
Combining Villa Adriana and Villa d’Este
Between Rome and Tivoli, about four miles before Tivoli, are the remains of Villa Adriana. It also belongs to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The Villa of Hadrian was built in the 2nd
century as a summer residence of Emperor Hadrian. It is one of the largest palace complexes ever built for a Roman emperor.
In the complex of Villa Adriana it can be very hot in the summer.
We advise you to take a sun protection.