Explore Tivoli's Villa D'Este | Renaissance-era Palace

The Villa d'Este, located in Tivoli, Italy, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated for its 16th-century Renaissance architecture, grand interiors, and stunning gardens. This historic masterpiece, once a cardinal's retreat, now showcases intriguing frescoes, sculptures, and state-of-the-art engineering marvels in its fountains and water systems. Book curated tickets to visit Villa d'Este and witness this wonder for yourself.

Also Known As

Este Villa

Founded On


Founded By

Pirro Ligorio

Quick information


2 hours




30-60 mins (Peak), 0-30 mins (Off Peak)



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Fun facts

Villa of Illusions: The famed frescoes on the villa's walls cleverly utilizes anamorphic perspective, creating optical illusions that seem to change with the viewer's position, a captivating Renaissance artistic technique.

Innovative hydraulic features: Among its stunning water features, Villa d'Este boasts a hydraulic organ that uses water pressure to produce musical notes, creating harmonious tunes played by the movement of water.

Garden of a thousand fountains: Despite its moniker, the villa actually boasts more than 500 fountains, water features, and lavish sculptures, creating an awe-inspiring symphony of water and artistry.

Book Tickets to Villa D'Este

Tivoli Villae Pass to Villa Adriana, Villa d'Este & Shrine of Hercules Victor
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Half-Day Trip to Villa Adriana & Villa D'Este from Rome
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Tickets to Villa d’Este
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What is Villa D'este?

Villa d’Este in Tivoli is a 16th-century villa known for stunning architecture and landscape. For more than 400 years, the gardens have been the epitome of the Italian Renaissance style featuring fountains, ornamental basins, statues, and grottoes. So much so that they served as inspiration for many other renowned European gardens and landmarks. 

Built as a residence for Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, Governor of Tivoli (1550-1572), today the villa is an Italian museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, there's something for everyone at Villa d'Este Tivoli.

Quick Facts | Villa d’Este

About Villa d'Este - Quick Facts
  • Location: Tivoli, Italy (30 kilometers east of Rome)
  • Type of Attraction: State Museum
  • Year of Construction: 16th century. 
  • Built by: Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, Governor of Tivoli
  • Architecture Style: Renaissance Architecture, European Mannerism & Baroque
  • Architects Involved: Pirro Ligorio, Alberto Galvani, Giovanni Battista della Porta (Engineer)
  • Number of Fountains: Over 500 fountains and water features. 
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Since 2001

Plan your Visit to Villa d’Este

Opening Hours
About Villa d'Este - Plan your Visit to Villa d’Este

Address: Trento, 5, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy [ Map Link ]

The Villa d'Este is located in the heart of Tivoli, 29 kilometers east of Rome.

Getting There

The shortest route to Villa d'Este from Rome is to take a direct train from Termini/ Tiburtina to Tivoli station, which is a short stroll away from the villa. You can also take the Metro Line B to Ponte Mammolo and then a bus designated for Tivoli.

Nearest Landmark: Hadrian's Villa (5.5 km away)

About Villa d'Este - What’s Villa d'Este’s Opening Hours?

Monday: 2 PM - 7:30 PM
Tuesday to Sunday: 8:30 AM - 7:45 PM
Last admission: 4 PM on all days

The garden’s closing hours vary throughout the year:

  • January: 4:45 PM
  • February: 5:15 PM
  • March: 6:00 PM
  • April: 7:15 PM
  • May to August: 7:30 PM
  • September: 7:00 PM
  • October: 6:15 PM
  • November to December: 4:45 PM.

What to See at Villa'D Este?

About Villa d'Este - Apartments of the Cardinal

Apartments of the Cardinal

The top floor of Villa d'Este served as Ippolito II d'Este's personal living space. The Grand Salon, the Throne room, the bedroom, the private study, and the chapel are the most fascinating areas offering first-hand insights into the taste and lifestyle of Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este.

About Villa d'Este - The Noble Apartments

The Noble Apartments

Down the flight of circular stone stairs, the Noble Floor comprises roughly 10 ornately painted chambers that are off a long corridor, called the Manica Lunga. Each of the rooms are intricately decorated and have  distinctive themes relating to nature, mythology, or history.

About Villa d'Este - Hall of Noah

Hall of Noah

Durante Alberti painted the Room of Noah (Sala di Noe)'s frescoes between 1570 and 1571, based on sketches by Girolamo Muziano. The art depicts Noah thanking God for saving him by putting a stop to the Great Flood.

About Villa d'Este - Hall of the Fountain

Hall of the Fountain

The Central Room or the Hall of the Fountain has frescoed interiors and features a stunning mosaic fountain (featuring glass, seashells, and precious stones) with the iconic white eagle of the d'Este dynasty perched on it.

Gardens of Villa d’Este

About Villa d'Este - The Fountain of the Dragons

The Fountain of the Dragons

It symbolizes the eleventh attempt of Hercules, who killed the 100-headed dragon named Ladon to get the golden apples from the Garden of the Esperidi for Euristo. The sound produced by the fountain's hydraulic when bursting water resembles that of cannons fired. 

About Villa d'Este - The Fountain of the Organ

The Fountain of the Organ

The Fountain of the Organ, constructed in 1571, draws water to power instruments like pipes and trumpets through a complex internal system. Musical compositions are timed to the water jets.

About Villa d'Este - The Terrace of the Hundred Fountains

The Terrace of the Hundred Fountains

The Hundred Fountains are prominently displayed along a promenade that runs beside the mansion. There are about 300 spouts shooting water streams at various heights. The whole ensemble is a fan-favorite.

About Villa d'Este - The Fountain of the Owl

The Fountain of the Owl

It was erected between 1565 and 1569 in the Southwest corner of the garden. The musical fountain has a more formal outlook, standing on a terrace encircled by walls with niches and topped with the white eagle and lily emblems of the d'Este family.

About Villa d'Este - The Rometta

The Rometta

The "Rometta" is a small reproduction of ancient Rome, complete with miniature temples, houses, and ruins that are intricately carved out of stone. The engravings are a testament to Rome's enduring fascination with classical antiquity.

History of Villa d'Este 

The Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Italy was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, the Governor of Tivoli and the son of Alfonso I d'Este, the Duke of Ferrara. 

The Villa remained in the d'Este family until the early 17th century when it was sold to the Papal States. It subsequently passed into the hands of various private owners and underwent a number of renovations over the centuries. In 1950, the Villa d'Este was acquired by the Italian government and opened to the public as a museum and tourist attraction. Today, it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most visited historic villas in Italy.

The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, which has a head office within Villa d'Este is dedicated to the preservation, management, and valuing of the monument.

Who Built the Villa d’Este, Tivoli?

The construction of the Villa d’Este began in 1560 and an extensive team of architects, engineers, and artists are responsible for the creation of the Renaissance masterpiece.

  • Pirro Ligorio: Ligorio was the chief architect and designer of the villa. He's also the man behind the Vatican Library and the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. He was later appointed by Pope Pius IV as the director of the Vatican Belvedere, where he oversaw the collection and restoration of ancient Roman statuary.
  • Giovanni Battista della Porta: Della Porta was an engineer who worked on the villa's water systems, including the complex network of pipes, canals, and reservoirs that supplied water to the fountains.

Villa d'Este Tivoli | UNESCO World Heritage Site

About Villa d'Este - Villa d'Este Tivoli as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 2001, the Villa d'Este was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptional beauty, artistic and architectural significance, and contribution to the development of garden design and hydraulic engineering. 

The gardens incorporate elements of both Renaissance and Mannerist design and were developed on a steep slope. It had a heavy impact on the evolution of garden design in Europe, influencing the large fountain system of the 18th-century Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, the 17th-century Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover, Germany, and the Palace of Versailles in France.

Frequently Asked Questions About Villa d’Este. Tivoli

What is Villa D'Este?

Villa d'Este is a 16th-century Renaissance villa located in Tivoli, Italy, known for its impressive terraced gardens and fountains.

What is Villa D'Este known for?

Villa d'Este is known for its stunning gardens featuring hundreds of fountains, waterfalls, and terraces, as well as its impressive Renaissance architecture.

Who built the Villa D'Este?

The Villa d'Este was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, a member of the powerful and wealthy d'Este family, and designed by architect Pirro Ligorio in the 16th century.

When did Villa D'Este open?

The exact date when it first opened to visitors is not known, but it has been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century.

Where is Villa D'Este located?

Villa d'Este is located in the town of Tivoli, which is about 30 kilometers east of Rome, Italy.

How far is Villa d'Este from Rome?

A: Villa d'Este is located in the town of Tivoli, which is about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Rome, Italy (approximately 45 minute - 1 hour drive from Rome to Villa d'Este and 30-60 minutes with trains/buses). 

What are the Villa D'Este opening hours?

Villa d'Este is open from Tuesday to Sunday 8.30 am – 7:45 pm (last admission at 6:45 pm) – garden closing hours varies through the week. Monday closed.

How much time should I allot for the Vista d'Este visit?

A: Approximately three hours are enough to explore Vista d’Este and Tivoli gardens.

What’s inside Villa D'Este?

Villa d'Este features beautiful Renaissance architecture and contains many ornately decorated rooms and chambers with frescoes, paintings, and sculptures. However, the main attraction of the villa is its stunning gardens, which are filled with hundreds of fountains, waterfalls, and terraces that are considered to be some of the finest examples of Italian garden design in the world.

How do the interiors of Villa d’Este Tivoli look?

A: Villa d'Este features exquisite interior decoration that includes frescoes, stucco work, marble sculptures, and other ornamental features.

How many fountains does Villa d’Este Tivoli have?

A: There are over 500 fountains ornamenting the Villa d’Este Tivoli.

Is it worth visiting Villa d'Este?

A: Yes, the Villa d'Este’s palace and gardens are definitely worth visiting if you are interested in art, architecture, and Italian Renaissance history. The UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its exquisite beauty, artistic appeal, and influential style.

What is the dress code for visiting Villa d'Este?

The dress code for visiting Villa d'Este is generally business casual and comfortable. Outfits like swimwear, bare-chested, and shorts are not permitted for men or women. 

Can I take photos inside Villa d'Este?

A: You may take photos but the use of tripods and flash is prohibited.

Is it wheelchair accessible?

A: Only a portion of Villa d'Este is wheelchair accessible. The upper terrace of the garden is accessible by lift from street level. Electric vehicles are available for exploring gardens & fountains.

Q: Can I buy Villa d'Este tickets online?

A: Yes, you can buy Villa d'Este tickets online.

How much does a ticket to Villa d'Este cost?

A: The price of a ticket to Villa d'Este varies depending on the type of experience you choose, but the prices start at €16.

Are guided tours available at Villa d'Este?

Yes, guided tours of the villa and gardens are available at Villa d'Este. These tours are led by professional guides who can provide detailed information about the history, architecture, and art of the site.