General notions related to the park of Villa d'Este
The park of Villa d'Este was commissioned by Ippolito II d'Este and was built on a site already built in Roman times. Pirro Ligorio was the architect who took care of both the project of the large garden decorated with statues, fountains and paths in the green to be discovered. Ligorio exploited the pre-existing Roman walls as buttresses and to feed the fountains he had in mind to install, he devised a complex system of pipes designed to channel water from the Aniene onto the site. The garden is spread over an area of 35,000 square meters and includes a large number of pools, fountains and water features. As for the plants, the park can boast of having 15 thousand ornamental trees and perennial plants and over 30 thousand seasonal plants put into rotation.
The Grotta di Diana is located near the entrance to the park of Villa d'Este today. The interior is decorated with low and high relief stuccoes and mosaics of colored stones. It was made by Paolo and Lola Calandrino with the precious collaboration of Curzio Maccarone. Unfortunately, the original floor of multicolored majolica has remained very little and you can guess how beautiful it was through some traces still visible. The three statues of Diana, Minerva and the Amazons were purchased in the past centuries by Pope Benedict XIV and today can be admired inside the Capitoline Museums. On the walls are painted five mythological scenes taken from the famous Metamorphoses of Ovid. They include the transformation of Daphne pursued by Apollo and Perseus who frees Andromeda.
The fountains in the park of Villa d'Este are numerous and it is difficult to choose the most amazing. Below the Pandora's lodge there is a big glass made by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It is a goblet supported by a shell from which water spurts. The Pegaso fountain, on the other hand, is characterized by a circular basin that houses a rock dominated by the winged horse. The avenue of the hundred fountains is one of the most characteristic parts of the entire complex. It is an avenue dotted with jets located on three different levels: an allegorical representation of the three main tributaries of the Tiber. Among the most noteworthy there is also that of Ovato shaped as an oval exedra. On both sides it is guarded by divinities and its structure has anticipated the forms of the Baroque.
Villa Este: Le peschiere
The fish ponds are the pools that are located in front of the large fountain of Neptune. They are surrounded by a thriving vegetation that is always green with boxwood and other medium-sized shrubs. These are three rectangular basins placed in sequence and animated by numerous spurts that flow from the vessels placed at the edges. The gushing water falls inside the fishponds rippling their surface making them assume iridescent reflections. Once upon a time in these basins exotic species of fish were raised that the guests of the villa could enjoy fishing and enjoying in superfine banquets. Near this space there were kiosks in which the improvised fishermen could rest and at the same time place all the equipment in their wake.