The Villa d'Este is the most famous of all the
Renaissance and Mannerist
residences in Europe. One might well ask why. It is not that much bigger or
more luxurious than the Villa Lante, not that much more stunning than Bomarzo.
It is perhaps because of the famous guests who resided at the Villa d'Este.
In the 19th century, the Cardinal of Hohenzollern allowed his best friend to stay there. This friend was Franz Liszt.
Liszt would come to Tivoli regularly, over a period of four years. There, he composed the famous "Jeux d'Eaux à la Villa d'Este".
During the 18th century, Hubert Robert and Fragonard accompanied the Abbot of Saint-Nom on his Italian voyage. These two artists sketched the most beautiful drawings to be found of the countryside. A century earlier, de Brosse wrote his most vibrant letters on Italian taste while residing there. Naturally, Montaigne visited the Villa d'Este.
The Villa d'Este was commissioned and built
by Cardinal Ippolito d'Este.
Born in 1509, he was a man of the 16th century and the Mannerist generation. His roots were already Mannerist: he was the son of Lucrezia Borgia and the grandson of Pope Alexander VI. We can speak of Mannerist expressionism.
He was the only Cardinal who could say that he was the grandson of the Pope. It would seem that he never missed an opportunity to do so.
Lucrezia was Alexander VI's daughter. He arranged her marriage to Alfonso I, duke of Ferrara. Ippolito was the son of Lucrezia and Alfonso I.
The garden of the Villa d'Este.
Some excellent artists worked at the Villa d'Este.