A Day-Trip from Rome: Villa d’Este

posted in: Italy, UNESCO | 0
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A few months ago, back when Spring was just beginning to take hold and the flowers were in full bloom all over Rome, we decided it was just the right time to visit Villa d’Este. Now, I’ll be honest: one of the reasons I even knew about Villa d’Este is because it makes an appearance in the Lizzie McGuire Movie and I had been dying to visit. Just a 40-minute ride from Rome, it is perfect for a day-trip to get away and decompress your brain from the many museums in Rome. When you’re like me and you’ve spent the past year and a half visiting every single museum in Washington, D.C. and Italy, sometimes you just want to see something because it’s pretty.  And if Villa d’Este is one thing, it’s definitely pretty.

I’ve already decided that our future dream home needs a name and a ceramic plaque at the entrance. 

We went on a weekend in late April and there was quite a line just to buy tickets and get inside. I remember it was a holiday weekend, so when there’s a holiday and the weather is nice, the Italians love to get out of the city and explore the outdoors. We haven’t been back since then, but if you’re coming in the summer months, just be prepared for a little line to get in.

But first, a little history about Villa d’Este: it was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito d’Este. For those of you familiar with the Borgia family (the Showtime series about the family is absolutely amazing), he was the son of Lucrezia Borgia and her husband, Alfonso d’Este and, therefore, grandson of Pope Alexander VI. It was completed sometime in the last quarter of the 16th century, after the Cardinal had died, and celebrated for its Renaissance style and hydraulic engineering that supplied water to the many fountains in the gardens. It eventually ended up property of the House of Hapsburg, where it fell into disrepair until the Italian State bought it after World War I and restored it to its former splendor. In 2001, it was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. 
Today, you can see some of the ceiling frescos inside the villa, although it is mostly empty of any grand furniture (I was completely surprised that they allowed dogs to go in until I saw the inside). But the main attraction, for me, was the gardens, exactly the reason why it is best to visit in the warmer months of the year.

She was having way too much fun with all the water fountains everywhere. 

Below are some of our pictures in the gardens of Villa d’Este:

The Fountain of Pegasus
Le Cento Fontane, The Hundred Fountains.
Our model dog. She can be a poster dog for Villa d’Este.

Le Fontane dell’Ovato, The Oval Fountain
One of my favorite flowers that bloom everywhere in Italy during the Spring is wisteria. I swear if I ever have a house in a warm climate, I’m getting those. 

For more information on ticket prices and opening hours, visit the Villa d’Este site here