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Fountains in Villa D'Este

Fountains in Villa D’Este

Famed for being the weekend escape of wealthy ancient and renaissance Romans, I decided the gorgeous town of Tivoli would be a perfect first stop on the way to Milan. We arrived in Tivoli in the late afternoon. Once again, our arrival was eventful due to our loveable frenemy the GPS which led us to a dead-end. When we tried to navigate our way out of the dead-end, it recalculated a loop and took us right back to the same spot. In the end, Eldad parked in a somewhat perilous position while I began to explore the narrow streets to find the hotel and seek help.

After walking past the hotel twice confused by the street signs and road works redirecting pedestrians. I finally found the entry and was buzzed inside. The hotel was called Al Palazzetto – a beautiful bed and breakfast in a heritage building. The rooms weren’t large but they were luxurious and modern… I  was excited to see we finally had a large shower. As I looked around the hotel, distractedly I remembered Eldad was still waiting in the car…!

I asked the host, Andrea to help us find parking. Before he gave directions, he asked where the car currently was… Those that know me, know my sense of direction is terrible. I was unable to answer his question. He got a map and asked me to show him where I walked from… blank. In the end, he asked if I thought I could find it by walking and he would come. I was about 70% sure …

We started on the route that I thought I had come. We chatted a bit in Italian (it was great to practice), and then in the distance, I saw Eldad coming up the street. My first thought was relief because then I didn’t have to find my way back to the car. “Eldad, I brought us a GPS!” I said as Andrea and I walked up. Andrea kindly helped us find the car park. After getting some recommendations for dinner, we decided to explore Tivoli.

I am not sure if it was the time of year, or if it is not a popular city to visit, but there were hardly any tourists which was actually lovely. The way I could tell this, was we were the only people in the whole town wearing thongs. It was interesting too, because as we walked around, everyone’s eyes would drop to our feet. I suddenly felt very self conscious – like a hobbit walking through elf town…  I decided then I would be wearing shoes when we arrived in Milan.

We had a spritz in the piazza, people watching and relaxing. We arrived too late to see any of the sites, so decided to enjoy a relaxed evening. We had a nice dinner at a little tavern before turning in for the night.

In the morning we enjoyed a simple but nice breakfast at the hotel before setting off to explore Villa D’este. An opulent renaissance villa that had amazingly beautiful sprawling gardens with lots of fountains. It was beautiful. There was stunning artwork in the villa itself… and actually some quite gruesome art as well depicting hunting and other blood sports.

Grand foutains

Grand fountains

The gardens were incredible. There were fountains everywhere – some simple and elegant, others grand and spectacular. There was even a fountain designed by Bernini, which plays music from an organ inside that operates on water pressure. I fancied myself in renaissance times, swanning through the gardens and holding lavish parties… If only.

Villa D'Este Gardens

Villa D’Este Gardens

View from Villa D'Este Tivoli

View from Villa D’Este Tivoli

Unfortunately we did not have time to visit the other villas – like Hadrian’s Villa Adriana – but the stopover was definitely worth it. On our way back to the car, Eldad stopped for some retail therapy – there was surprisingly good shopping there.

Tivoli is a gorgeous town with beautiful sights to see. I would highly recommend the B&B we stayed in as well. The host was welcoming and giving of his time to make our short stay memorable.

After such a nice stay, I was also looking forward to our next stop – a hotel in a village near Florence called Filigne Valdarno…

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Tivoli

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