Thursday, 30 July 2009

Tivoli, Italy

We went to Tivoli just south west of Rome in the Spring for the first time, we visited the Summer Villa of Emperor Hadrian which is one of the great wonders of the ancient world. Then we climbed the hill to Tivoli to visit Villa d'Este built by Cardinal Hyppolito D'Este between 1550-1572 with the famous
water garden designed for his pleasure. It has all been restored by UNESCO and it is beautiful and amazing, including the famous water organ which plays a musical air on the hour, I am not quite sure how that was done in the 16th century, the fountains work on the principle of gravity and pressure and the organs keys are operated by water pressure to make music, I am willing to bet that a lot of calculations went into the design. The gardens were and are to this day famous, they became the model for numerous other great Royal gardens around Europe, like Versailles.

The second time I went to Tivoli was for an official function recently, much less fun. In late afternoon as the sun was setting a colleague took this photo from the hotel Torre Sant-Angelo with the town of Tivoli behind me. You can see how it is built on a cliff overlooking the Latium valley below, in the far off distance is the Tyrrhenian sea. Will probably return in the fall when the weather is less hot. The Villa d'Este gardens can be visited at night, with lighted torches and the fountains playing, it is magical.