Villa d'Este

Villa d'Este

The Villa d'Este in Tivoli is a masterpiece of Italian architecture and especially garden design. Its mixture of architectural elements and water features had an enormous influence on European landscape design.

The villa was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este (1509-1572), son of Alfonso I d'Este and Lucrezia Borgia and grandson of Pope Alexander VI. He had been appointed Governor of Tivoli.

From 1550 until his death in 1572, when the villa was nearing completion, Cardinal d'Este created a palatial setting surrounded by a spectacular terraced garden in the late-Renaissance mannerist style, which took full advantage of the dramatic slope but required innovations in bringing a sufficient water supply, which was employed in cascades, water tanks, troughs and pools, water jets and fountains, giochi d'acqua.

Map of Villa d'Este

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Visit September 2012

The Villa d'Este lies in the center of Tivoli. Due to its proximity to Rome I guess, it attracts more than half a million visitors a year. It's a bit of an oldfashioned tourist attraction, the main point of interest is its garden with water features. I stayed in a B&B on walking distance, and so was able to get in before 9 a.m. This way I had the whole garden to myself, except for a cat that sought my companionship.

September 2012

I roamed around for about 1.5 hour. The differences in height make for good excercise, and the site has enough on offer to pleasantly surprise now and then. The most impressive parts I found the Organ Fountain and the one representing Rome. I did a quick tour through the villa as well. Every room is covered in wall paintings.

September 2012

After a while though I became aware that parts of the site actually are quite run-down, or need more care than they're getting now. About a third of the fountains were not working (especially the smaller ones). I don't know if this is a case of "the tourists will come anyway, so why bother", or that a severe lack of funds is hindering the upkeep of the site. Surely there could be made more out of it than is now.

September 2012


Community Reviews

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Klaus Freisinger

Austria - 10-May-15 -

Villa d'Este by Klaus Freisinger

Tivoli is a relatively short train ride from Rome and has been a popular destination for excursions and a countryside residence for Romans since ancient times. While the Villa Adriana is a few kilometres outside the centre, Villa d'Este is right in the centre. Commissioned by a Renaissance cardinal, it is considered to be the defining masterpiece of Italian landscape architecture and garden design. The garden is indeed very pleasant for a stroll, full of fountains, ponds and other water features, although I visited a bit too early (in early March) to enjoy the full spring bloom. The villa itself, though, was not particularly impressive, and can be skipped if you are short on time. Besides the 2 villas inscribed on the WH list, Tivoli features a third one that is in my opinion the equal of the other 2 - the Villa Gregoriana, famous for its unique combination of a natural landscape and one altered by men since antiquity. I certainly enjoyed my walk down to the valley floor and up again on the other side, always admiring viewpoints, caves, waterfalls, and a number of manmade structures. It has been on Italy's tentative list for a long time, but I doubt that UNESCO would inscribe a third separate site in such a small town - an extension of Villa d'Este would be justified, though.


Malta - 20-Mar-14 -

Villa d'Este by Clyde

I visited this WHS in March 2014. I went there early to beat the crowds and I enjoyed the Fontana deli Organi at 10.30am. The villa interior reminded me of Ferrara's Castello Estense. The highlights of the Renaissance gardens are the Rometta, Neptune's Fountain and the Cento Fontane. Although I enjoyed my visit, the Villa gardens weren't very well kept for a WHS especially when it costs 8 euros to visit!

John booth

New Zealand - 12-Sep-11 -

Villa d'Este by john booth

This villa clearly receives the larger share of visitors to Tivoli. The gardens seem to be the main attraction of course with their flowing waterfalls and fountains. Few visitors seemed to venture inside the villa though, but I found it worthwhile to see the palatial frescoed home of Cardinal d'Este.

I reached Piazza Garibaldi in Tivoli by bus from outside Ponte Mammolo metro station.

L. Pivato

Canada - 22-Jul-11 -

We finally got there after many, many past trips to Rome and surroundings. We should have gone sooner!! Breathtaking and really an architectural marvel. It just goes to prove that tourists need to get away from the cities and discover sites on "the roads less travelled" like this one. I now recommend a tour of the Castelli Romani and Villa D'Este/Tivoli, in particular, to all my friends who are heading to Rome. It is well worth the effort to get there.

Ben Chester

America -

One of the more breathtaking experiences of my life. The combination of tranquility and chaos that the water features bring about is something everyone should be so lucky to experience.

Villa d'Este will always have a special spot in my memories!

Site Info

Full Name
Villa d'Este, Tivoli
Unesco ID
1 2 3 4 6
Secular structure - Park or garden Secular structure - Residence

Site History

2001 Inscribed

1995 Revision

Temporarily combined into a single TWHS with Villa Gregoriana until just before inscription in 2001, after having been listed alone from 1984


The site has 1 locations

Villa d'Este


The site has

Human Activity
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A. Mehmet Haksever AC Afshin Iranpour Alberto Rodriguez Gutierrez Alessandro Votta Alex Pflugfelder Alexander Barabanov Alexander Lehmann Alfons and Riki Verstraeten Alias65 Altacyr Anders Burholm Andrew Wembridge Argo Atila Ege Aurelien Drilant-Abenascad Baudy-Floc h Bborders Ben Ami Ben Pastore Bin Bob Finnie Bob Parda Brigitte Huber Butterflybird Carolinerowe25 Cezar Grozavu ChenMing Chenqtao Cheryl Chris Lee Christer Sundberg Christian Wagner Cindy Casey ClaireWhiteley Clyde Colossus Coppi Craig Harder Dagmara David Aaronson & Melanie Stowell David Berlanda David King David Marton Dgjohansson Diggy Dimitar Krastev Dimitrios Polychronopoulos Donald M Parrish Jr Elaine McArdle Elia Vettorato Elias Elida Ellen Nielsen Els Els Slots Enrico Cerrini Eva Kisgyorgy Fan Yibo Feldhase Femke Roos Fmannucci Frederik Dawson Frédéric M G. ingraham G.L. Ingraham Gary Arndt Geert Luiken George Evangelou George Gdanski Gi Gijs Gisella Gretell Scott Hadrianus Hdimoshi Howard Howard Brayer Hubert Iain Jackson Ibonez Ilya Burlak Ivan Rucek Jakob Frenzel Janina Lehmann Jarek Pokrzywnicki Jasam Jeanne OGrady Jennifer Prout Joao Durao Joel Baldwin John booth Jon Eshuijs Jonas Hagung Jonas Kremer Jorge fitzmaurice Jose Antonio Collar Joyce van Soest João Aender Judith Tanner Justin KYLE ROUSSEL Karin Heyl Kasienka5 Kelly Henry Klara Woodson Klaus Freisinger Klmargit LKERPS LaVale Lara Adler Lars Gunnar Gardo Lee Kai Loong Liam Linda Sereno Lisa Ross Lisu Marian Luis Filipe Gaspar Lut & Theo MAURO PODDA MHasuly MMM MaYumin Maciej Gowin Magnien Malgorzata Kopczynska Marcel staron Marcin Eternauta Marie Morlon Markus Marlies van Wolfswinkel Marta Lempert Martin Lind (Switzerland) Martina Ruckova Mateusz Maureen Benefield Mauro Martino MaxHeAnou Melinda Baumann Michael Mett Michael Novins Michael Turtle Michal Marciniak Michelle Attard Michelle.has.murphy Michiel Dekker Miguel Gallego Mikko Monica Tasciotti Nan Nathalie Goldberg Nevin Salman Nicole Kilian Nihal Ege Olli-Pekka Turunen Orphanos PabloNorte Pascal Cauliez Patphilly Patrick C. Venenoso Patriks Paul Schofield Peltzi Peter Alleblas Peter Loov Petteri Philipp Peterer Piotr Sebastian Sikon Pressdm Qqalexqq Ralf Regele Randi Thomsen Riccardo Quaranta Roel Sterken Roger Ourset Roman Koeln Roman Raab Ronaldo Michels Rswood Sabrina Liebehentschel Sally Galman Salomo Sam Mason Sandersx2 Schnitzel Sergio Arjona Shandos Cleaver SirLoydd Solivagant Squiffy Stacie Yeldell Stanislaw Warwas SteO153 Stefan A. Michelfeit Stefan and Mia Stephen S. Kamin Super-Sophie Szucs Tamas Tamara Ratz Teresa J. Wilkin Therese Steen Thibault Magnien Thomas Buechler Thomas Kunz Thomas van der Walt Timallen Tom Flaten Tom Livesey Tony0001 Travel Addicts Tsunami VLabhard Vanessa Buechler Vicente B. Avanzado Jr. WILLIAM RICH Walter Walter H. Watkinstravel Werner Huber Willem van Altena Wolfgang Hlousa WolfgangHl Wouter Xangadib Xiong Wei Yannick Tatin ZX You Zoë Sheng