Tivoli : City of Water
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Tivoli : City of Water . By Thomas Serafini and Filippo Morcella. Index. History Villa d’Este Villa Gregoriana. History.

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Tivoli : City of Water

By Thomas

Serafini and




  • History

  • Villa d’Este

  • Villa Gregoriana


Tivoli was the ancient Roman city Tibur. Itstrades are confirmedby the Sanctuary of Hercules the winner , built in the II century. During the republican and imperialage Tivoli became full of rich Roman villas , suchas Villa Adriana, house of the EmperorHadrian.

In the Middle Age Tivoli was a bishop’svenue and in the 1550 Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este wasappointedasgovernorto the city. Hepromoted the constructionof Villa d’Este.

Villa d’Este

Villa d’Este isone of the threevillas of Tivoli . Itwascommissionedby Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este , and was buildby Pirro Ligorio and Tommaso Chirurchi , the mostskilledhydraulicengineers of the sixteenthcentury . This villa isrich in pools, fountains , waterfalls and water jets

Fontana dell’organo

The organfountain was builtby Pirro Ligorio between 1568 and 1611 d.C . The fountain was built so that the water passingthrough the tubes, produce musical sounds . The fountainwasfixed in 2003 after a period of no service.

The onehundredfountains

Projectedby Pirro Ligorio the onehundredfountainsis a hallway, between Ovato and Romettafountains. Itisadornedwithsculpture of lilies, obelisks and eagles. Thesesymbolswereveryappreciatedby the Cardinal.

Neptune’s fountain

The hugest, mostscenographic and mostimportantfountain of the villa. It was builtby Attilio Rossi in 1927 . The highest part isformedby the balaustrade of the Organfountain.

Between the base and the terracethere are 12 jets , 6 in the right part the other 6 in the left part.

The dragons ‘s fountain

Builtby Pirro Ligorio , thisfountainis the heart of Villa d’Este . Itrepresentsfourdragonsfightingoneanother.

Accordingto a legend, thisfountainrepresents Hercules’s eleventhlabour : hehadtofightagainst the dragon Ladone

Villa Gregoriana

The placewherethis villa standswasveryimportantforcomunicationsthanksto Via Valeria thatpassednearby. This was a reasonwhy the acropolis of the city of Tibur and the first bridge on the riverwerebuilt in this area in pre-romantimes.


This villa isset on a hillcalled “Villa Inferno” in front of a hugewaterfall . This area wassubjectedtoseasonaltides and floodsfrom the riversince the Roman times. Pope Gregory XVI ordered the construction of twoartificialcanals (more than 280 metres long) todivert the river out of the city. Villa Gregoriana wasmadeto celebrate thisimportantengineering project creating a majesticscenery .

TWO differentkinds of topiarY art in Tivoli

This villa representsanexample of Romantic gardening, while Villa D’esteis a clearexample of Reinassance Gardening . Bothvillas are the results of a skillfuluse of water resources.

In the Renaissance Man wanted todemonstratehiscontrolover nature and gardenswereartificial, carefullyorganized and full of artisticartifacts .

In the Romanticperiodfashionablegardenshad a more naturalaspect, withwaterfalls , shadowypaths and mysteriouscaves, buttheywereequally the result of careful planning and greatartisticskill.