"The traveller returning from Italy, with his eyes and imagination full of the ineffable Italian garden-magic, knows vaguely that the enchantment exists; that he has been under its spell, and that it is more potent, more enduring, more intoxicating to every sense than the most elaborate and glowing effects of modern horticulture; but he may not have found the key to the mystery. Is it because the sky is bluer, because the vegetation is more luxuriant?" − Edith Wharton, , from Introduction to Italian Villas and their Gardens
About 45 minutes from Rome, Tivoli is an easy and idyllic excursion out of the city. Tivoli was allied with the Gauls before it was conquered by the Romans, the Byzantines, Charlemagne and the Austrians. Its turbulent leadership was reflected in its rebellious citizens and fierce struggles with Rome. Known for its striking quarries and hills, the rushing waters of Tivoli are responsible today for powering some of the electricity that lights Rome. Along our tour we will experience one of the most picturesque Renaissance settings in the Roman countryside. We will visit the 16th-century Villa D'este – one of the most beautiful villas in all of Italy. Who financed the construction of Villa D’este?
Historically a summer retreat, Tivoli is home to natural thermal springs, fresh air and sits upon a limestone ridge in the hillside. A guided visit to Tivoli will open your eyes to the formation of this Renaissance city situated in such close proximity to Rome. The highlight of majestic Tivoli is the magnificent Villa D’este which is built on the remains of a Benedictine convent. Its pioneering garden design together with the architectural works of 500 fountains, water games (giochi d'acqua), and grottoes made it an early model for the development of European gardens- and one of the most beautiful villas in all of Italy. A visit to the Villa D'este with a Presto guide will provide you with a revealing walk through its stunning garden and an opportunity to learn the palace's copious history and intricate planning. We will delve into the story behind its design and acquaint ourselves with the architect and his patron. See the Fountain of the Dragon, the Avenue of One Hundred Fountains, and the Fountain of the Water Organ.