VILLA D’ESTE - Istituto Villa Adriana e Villa d’Este · Villae


UNESCO World Heritage Designation : Yes, 2001 / Ref: 1025
Type of Historical Garden: The garden in Villa d’Este, Tivoli, is one of the most remarkable and complete examples of Renaissance culture. The villa’s innovative design and the garden’s architectural components such as fountains, ornamental ponds, etc., make it a unique example of an Italian 16th-century garden. According to UNESCO’s statement, the garden in the Villa d’Este is one of the first wonder-gardens and became a model for the development of gardens all over Europe.

Piazza Trento, 5, 00019 Tivoli (Rome)


+39 0774312070 ç
+39 0774768082

Region: Lazio - Italy
Municipality : Tivoli (Rome)
Town : Tivoli
Place : Tivoli
Google Maps Coordinates:


Access from the provincial capital :

- By car_from Rome along the SS 5 Tiburtina, or the A24 motorway, exit Tivoli;
- By train, Rome-Sulmona-Pescara line, Tivoli station;
- By bus from Rome, Cotral line, Ponte Mammolo-Tivoli interchange node (Via Tiburtina or A24)

Opening times
Opening times:

8.30am – 7.45pm (6.45pm last entry); on Monday 2pm – 7.45pm (6.45pm last entry)

Depending on the month, the garden closes at:

  • January: 4.45pm
  • February: 5.15pm
  • March: 6.00pm (with the summer time 7.00pm)
  • April 7.15pm
  • From May through August: 7.30pm
  • September: 7.00pm
  • October: 6.15pm (with the winter time 5.15pm)
  • November and December: 4.45pm

Visitors’ Reception Centre

Interpretation Centre

Associated museum

Guided visits


Educational workshops

Activities for the general public

Parking for private vehicles

Parking for buses

Access for people with disabilities or reduced



Souvenir shop


     Others: Wardrobe and disable mobility cars to access to the gardens and fountains.


Nearest parking for buses:

Check-point (descent/rise for tourist coaches) in Piazzale Nazioni Unite; compulsory stop in Largo Saragat

Nearest parking for private vehicles:

Piazza Garibaldi or the multi-level car park in Piazzale Matteotti

Days open to the public: From Monday (2 p.m.) to Sunday. The Monument is closed on the following days: Every Monday morning, January 1st and December 25th.
Age restrictions:

Visitors under the age of 15 must always be escorted by adults.

Types of visits:
  • Free visits
  • Guided tours of the garden and villa are available
  • Audio-guides available at the ticket office

Groups should book the tour by contacting the call centre (199.766.166: number to dial throughoutItaly) at least five working days in advance (payment with credit card) or fifteen working days in advance (payment with bank transfer).

Bookings from abroad:
fax: 0039 0412770747
telephone: 0039 0412719036

Duration of visits:

About one and a half hours

Maximum number of visitors in a group:

Only for School Visits: 100 students per hour. Reservations are required.
In the interests of preserving the monument and better regulating the flow of students, the management of Villa d'Este has limited the number of students allowed into the Villa to 100 per hour. Should any school group arrive at the Villa without having made a reservation, it will be admitted to the Villa according to the space available at a particular time and asked to wait until such space becomes available. The telephone number for booking (valid throughout Italy) is: 199 766 166. Right of Reservation cost: € 1,00.

Maximum number of visitors per day:

1000 people per hour

Admission fees:

Full ticket: € 10,00

These fees may vary in conjunction with exhibitions set inside the Villa.
From 11th May to 1st November 2019 full ticket is € 13,00 for the exhibition “Eva vs Eva: the dual value of the feminine in the Western imagination”.

Free tickets and reductions are provided by law for state cultural sites available on the MiBAC official website

Reduced ticket: € 2,00 for EU citizens between 18 and 25 years

FREE ENTRY (upon presentation of a document stating one of the following conditions):

– citizens up to 17 years of age;
– disabled people;
– tourist guide with license;
– tourist interpreter with a valid license issued by the competent authority;
– staff of the Ministry of Heritage and cultural activities and tourism;
– members of I.C.O.M. and I.C.C.R.O.M .;
– groups of students in public and private schools of the European Union, accompanied by their teachers, upon reservation (right of reservation 1€);
– students of architecture, cultural heritage, educational sciences and archaeological or historical-artistic subjects by showing the certificate of the current academic year;
– journalists upon presentation of their press card;
– members of the Police forces upon presentation of their service badges;
– teachers of state and non-state schools upon presentation of their service card.

In addition free entry every first Sunday of the month from October to March and every first Monday of the month from May to December.


Call Centre 199.766.166: Number to dial throughout Italy for pre-sales and reservations for: tickets, guided tours, school groups, instructional visits.

Bookings from abroad:
fax: 0039 0412770747
telephone: 0039 0412719036

Prior purchase of tickets:

Yes, online tickets are available on the website

Educational workshops:

“Tavolo verde”

The Institute promotes a technical table aimed at defining new strategies for the management, conservation, protection and enhancement of historic gardens and spaces characterized by a close relationship between the environment, nature, architecture and archeology.
Participants to the round table are general managers and directors of Villa Adriana and Villa d’Este Institute, the Uffizi Galleries, the Royal Palace of Caserta, the Castle Museum of Miramare, the Royal Museums of Turin and the Museum and Real Bosco of Capodimonte.

De rerum naturae: investigations and reflections for the enhancement of the historic garden.

The Institute promotes a series of meetings, in collaboration with the Italian Parks and Gardens Association, to investigate and propose reflections and analysis on some emblematic cases of management and enhancement of the historic garden.

National Family Day at the Museum – F@Mu

The Institute adheres to the “National Family Day at the Museum – F @ Mu”, proposing an intense program of educational and recreational activities designed for families, children and young people to make the cultural heritage known among them.

Didactic Workshop will be updated daily on the website.

Activities for the public:

Events will be updated daily on the website.


The access to the Villa is free on the first Sundays of the month from January to March and every first Monday of the month from May to December.

“Free access to cultural sites – affirms the director of the Villae, Andrea Bruciati – is a necessary measure to allow the use of our cultural heritage. Guaranteeing the access to the poorest or deprived part of population, not only through free access, but above all to a policy on accessibility of art and culture, is a specific choice of our Institute. The Villaes, merged in their environmental context, also offer an emotional as well as cultural experience. With this in mind, encouraging access in the less crowded days, when the quiet and beauty of the places is greater, seemed to me the best option to offer ”.


From January to March, the redevelopment project called ROSSODISERA guarantees the visitor a reduced entrance ticket from 16.00 to admire the fantastic sunset from the Arc de Triomphe of Villa d’Este towards the landscape of the Roman countryside

Nearest cultural destinations:

– Villa Adriana
– Santuario di Ercole Vincitore
– Mensa Ponderaria
– Mausoleo di Plauzi

Nearest natural destinations:

Villa Gregoriana

Nearby accommodation:

Nearby restaurants:

Crafts, gastronomy, gift shops etc., at the site or in the area:

There are many handcraft shops, local gastronomy, typical souvenirs, etc., around the place.

The tourism website of the municipality is:

Natural environment of the garden

The Historic Garden of Villa d’Este is generally considered within the larger –and altogether extraordinary- context of Tivoli itself: its landscape, art and history which includes the important ruins of ancient villas as well as a zone rich in caves and waterfalls displaying the unending battle between water and stone.

The area where Tivoli sits has always been a great place for settlement, due to its favourable climate, as well as its strategic outlook, being at the crossing between the Aniene river and via Tiburtina.

Its archeological attractions and its beauty made of Tivoli an essential stop on the Grand Tour of numerous poets and artists from the early 17th century.


Historical background of the garden

It is worth noting that within Villa d’Este and Tivoli’s historical landscape there is Villa Adriana, the prestigious remains of an ancient villa built by the emperor Hadrian (Publius Aelius Hadrianus) between 118 and 138 AD.

Looking for a greener and water-rich territory, the emperor Hadrian moved his residence to Tivoli, 28 kms away from Rome. Here, on the tuff-rich banks of the river Aniene, at the foot of the Tiburtini Mountains, and on a plateau between two ditches, Villa Adriana was built, covering an area of nearly 120 hectares.

Another important monument within the garden in Villa d’Este’s landscape is the Sanctuary of Ercole Vincitore. Built during the 2nd century BC, it was one of the major sacred complexes of Roman architecture in the Republican era. It is an imposing structure, built with a series of terraces, overlooking the river Aniene developed along an ancient cattle route, later formalised as via Tiburtina.

Following its decline as place of worship, for centuries it was used used as a shelter, a convent, a foundry, a hydroelectric power station and ultimately paper factory.

In the Middle Ages, Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, Governor of Tivoli, had his villa built in a borough of the city named the Valle Gaudente. Here, he employed teams of master builders to remodel the sloping landscape to make a terraced garden.


Description of the Garden

Villa d’Este, a masterpiece of the Italian Garden, is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. With its impressive concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music, it constitutes a much-copied model for European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles.

The imposing constructions and the series of terraces above terraces bring to mind the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. The addition of water- including an aqueduct tunnelling beneath the city – evokes the engineering skill of the Romans themselves.

Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, after the disappointment of a failed bid for the papacy, brought back to life here the splendour of the courts of Ferrara, Rome and Fontainebleau and revived the magnificence of Villa Adriana. Governor of Tivoli from 1550, he immediately nurtured the idea of realising a garden in the hanging cliffs of the “Valle Gaudente”, but it was only after 1560 that his architectural and iconographic programme became clear—brainchild of the painter-architect-archeologist Pirro Ligorio and realised by court architect Alberto Galvani.

The rooms of the Palace were decorated under the tutelage of the stars of the late Roman Mannerism, such as Livio Agresti, Federico Zuccari, Durante Alberti, Girolamo Muziano, Cesare Nebbia and Antonio Tempesta. The work was almost complete at the time of the Cardinal’s death (1572).

From 1605 Cardinal Alessandro d’Este gave the go-ahead to a new programme of interventions not only to restore and repair the vegetation and the waterworks, but also to create a new series of innovations to the layout of the garden and the decorations of the fountains.

Other works were carried out from 1660 – 70; these involved no less a figure than Gianlorenzo Bernini.
In the 18th century the lack of maintenance led to the decay of the complex, which was aggravated by the property’s passage to the House of Hapsburg. The garden was slowly abandoned, the water works- no longer used- fell into ruin, and the collection of ancient statues— enlarged under Cardinal Ippolito, was disassembled and scattered.

This state of decay continued without interruption until the middle of the XIXth century, when Gustav Adolf von Hohenlohe, who obtained in enfiteusi the villa from the Dukes of Modena in 1851, launched a series of works to pull the complex back from its state of ruin. Between 1867 and 1882 the Villa once again became a cultural point of reference, with the Cardinal frequently hosting the musician Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886), who composed Giochi d’acqua a Villa d’Este for piano while a guest here, and who in 1879 gave one of his final concerts.

At the outbreak of the First World War, the villa became a property of the Italian State, and during the 1920s it was restored and opened to the public. Another, radical restoration was carried out immediately after the Second World War to repair the damage caused by the bombing of 1944. Due to particularly unfavourable environmental conditions, the restorations have continued practically without interruption during the past twenty years (among these it is worth noting the recent cleaning of the Organ Fountain and also the “Birdsong.”)




Ippolito II d’Este is appointed Governor of Tivoli;
the Cardinal buys land and dwellings of the medieval quarter that occupied the so-called “Valle Gaudente” in order to realize the Villa under the project of Pirro Ligorio;
transformation of the Benedictine convent for the construction of the Villa;
excavation and construction of garden wall substructures;


Construction of the so-called “Canale d’Este” for feeding fountains from the Aniene river.


Period of intense activity under the direction of Giovanni Alberto Galvani;
from 1565 to 1572
most of the Villa’s fountains are built


Ippolito II d’Este died.
Luigi d’Este succeeds his uncle
From 1572 to 1585
the works for the villa continue under the direction of Giovanni Alberto Galvani;


After the death of Luigi d’Este the Villa passed to the Dean of the sacred college of cardinals.
Cardinal Alessandro d’Este is appointed governor of Tivoli.
Some artifacts are restored and innovations are made in the Garden.


Francesco I, Duke of Modena and Reggio, carries out some restorations and maintenance works. The “rotonda dei Cipressi” is built to replace the lost wooden pavilion.


Cardinal Rinaldo I d’Este commissioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini to realize the “Fontana del Bicchierone” and the waterfall under the Piazzale dell’Organo;


the dukes of Modena and Reggio succeed one another. significant interventions are not carried out in the garden.


The villa is inherited from Maria Beatrice d’Este, daughter of Ercole III and wife of Ferdinando I of Asburgo.
various interventions are carried out at the garden and at the trees


There are no particular maintenance interventions


The villa was given in emphyteusis to Cardinal Gustav Von Hohenlohe who carried out restoration works to remove the villa from a state of decay.


the villa is still owned by the Asburgo-Este and no works are carried out
from 1922
the villa becomes the property of the Italian government


the “Fontana di Nettuno“ is realized by changing the original cascata made by Bernini.

1929 – Today

Numerous restoration interventions and garden maintenance operations have taken place.


the villa becomes a UNESCO heritage site


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