Posted by: lizlitzow | September 5, 2010

Villa d’Este Tivoli

You may find there’s quite enough in Rome to keep you occupied during your stay. But should you want to venture a bit beyond the Eternal City, there are a few interesting things to do. Not that any of us actually tire of Rome and I certainly find I can visit the same sights numerous times, and yet find something magical with each view.

The Organ Fountain

We were driving from Rome to Bagni di Lucca (we have tried various methods of travel to our apartment) and decided to head to Tivoli. There were two attractions on our list, and Tivoli was the first.  It is, in fact, the most popular excursion out of Rome.

No water shortages here

Villa d’Este, Tivoli’s most famous sight, was the country retreat of Cardinal Ippolito d’Este and was transformed from  the shell of a Benedictine monastery in 1550 by Pirro Ligorio.

A beautiful walk

We visited outside of peak season, but there were still large numbers of people visiting the gardens and villa. People mainly come to see the fountains of the gardens but the restored ground floor apartments also make the trip worthwhile. Unfortunately, restoration is still going on in the gardens below, and many of the famous fountains were temporily closed during our visit.

Garden with villa in the background

The most stunning and theatrical fountain is the magnificent Organ Fountain, Fontana dell’Organo Idraulico, which has been returned to its original glory and makes a most imposing sight as it gushes millions of gallons of water down the hillside.   It originally played music, thanks to its hydraulic system.   Our first observation was – no water shortages here!!

How gorgeous is this?

Among the other fountains you can see are the Fontana dell’Ovata near the Organ Fountain fringed with statues, behind which is a rather dank arcade. The Rometta on the opposite side of the garden has reproductions of the city’s major buildings.

A rather gruesome chap

We found it quite complicated to get to the Villa d’Este as the signposting left a bit to be desired and the narrow winding streets approaching Tivoli and the Villa were quite daunting. However, after many stops and enquiries (in my halting Italian) from the locals, we finally found it and it was well worth the effort.

Tivoli cats eating pizza!!!

Be sure to visit Tivoli if you have the chance to get outside Rome for the day.


  1. Stunning. I’ve not been to Rome enough to have time to venture out…, I bet there’s just so much there to see once you get out a bit. Thanks for sharing.

    • It was stunning and would be even more so in summer, but then you would have the crowds.

Leave a Reply