It's easy to get stuck exploring the charming galleries and museums of Rome, and forget that there's plenty of culture to be found outside the confines of The Eternal City. Villa d’Este, an hour east of the capital in Tivoli, is a perfect example. This 16th-century villa is famous for its masterpiece Italian Renaissance garden, featuring beautiful fountains, statues and grottoes.
Villa d’Este was built for Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, a 16th-century cardinal and statesman who wasn't afraid to spend his hard-inherited scudi on lavish art projects. Thankfully so; Villa d’Este is awe-inspiring inside and out, and a much-copied model for European gardens.
Wander the grand gardens and take in the sights and sounds of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll along paths hugged by stunning statues and water features, and hear the trickling flow of water through its endless terraces.
Inside the villa, you can admire wall-to-wall frescoes in opulent halls and rooms. This is where the audio guide is a necessity, unless you're an expert in 16th-century art and religious iconography (you might be, you're a smart bunch).
Tickets for Villa d’Este in Tivoli