Fountain of Europa
The Fountain of Europa is on the Vialone of Villa d’Este, opposite the Grand Lodge, and looks like a triumphal arch, formed by two overlapping rows of columns, Doric and Corinthian, which define a niche within which was placed the sculpture, that is now at Villa Albani in Rome, of Europa that embraces the Bull. The Greeks believed that Zeus felle in love of Europa when he saw her and decided to seduce her so he became a white bull. When Europa saw that wonderful bull got onto his back and Zeus went into the sea to the island of Crete.
Grotto of Diana
Descending from Villa d’Este, on the left of a driveway, is the Grotto of Diana. Fully decorated with mosaics of stone, stucco and high-reliefs, and decorative enamel. The elegant statues that adorned the cave, depicting two Amazons, Minerva and Diana the huntress, are now in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. On the walls are represented five mythological scenes.
Fountain of Rometta
At the end of the avenue of the Hundred Fountains, we find the Fountain of Rometta (Rometta means little Roma). At the center there is a large tank with the representation of Rome.
In the middle of a stream, representing the Tiber, lies an ancient Roman ship, representing the Tiber Island. The Tiber Island was home to many hospitals, and probably to this alludes the snake that is under the bridge, symbol of the god of medicine Asclepius. At the center of the fountain is the statue of Rome Victorious, armed with helmet, shield and spear, and beside is the sculpture of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus.
Fountain of Bicchierone
Bicchierone means big glass. Also known as “the Lily”, this fountain is displaced in the Loggia of Pandora, on the main axis of the garden of Villa d’Este. Elegant and serene, the fountain was added almost a century after the creation of the Villa, in 1661, commissioned to Gian Lorenzo Bernini by Cardinal Rinaldo d’Este. The fountain depicts a notched glass superimposed on a similar one, both supported by a large shell.
Fountain of the Owl
Located on the left of the fountain of the Dragons, is called the Fountain of the Owl because of the complicated mechanism, taking advantage of the falling of water, which made a number of metal birds appear on the branches of a bronze tree. Another mechanism made appear an owl that scared the birds.
The mechanism has been lost over time, and only in recent years, after a long restoration of the fountain, a mechanism has been recreated than resembles the original.
Fountain of Dragons
Walking down the main axis of Villa d’Este’s garden, further down the avenue of the Hundred Fountains, we find the spectacular Fountain of the Dragons. Designed and built by Pirro Ligorio, was built, according to legend, in a single night in September of 1572, as a tribute to Pope Gregory XIII, who was a guest of the villa. The fountain consists of a central sculptural group, consisting of four horrid dragons arranged in a circle and spitting a jet of water, while a powerful and high jet arises from the center of the circle. Behind is a niche within which there is a large statue of Hercules. The fountain was meant to be an allusion to the myth of Hercules killing the dragon.
Avenue of the Hundred Fountains
Designed by Pirro Ligorio, the Avenue of the Hundred Fountains is one hundred meters long and connects the Fountain of Ovato, also known as the Fountain of Tivoli, with Rometta, also known as the Fountain of Rome. The three small rivers that flow, at different heights along the Avenue of the Hundred Fountains, represent the three tributaries of the Tiber (represented by the Fountain of Rometta), generated from the mountains Tiburtini (represented by the fountain of Ovato).
Fountain of Pegasus
Set among the rocks and vegetation, behind the Fountain of Ovato, the fountain consists of a circular tank, in the center of which lies a large rock on which stands the statue of the mythical winged horse Pegasus. The composition recalls the story of Pegasus, who arrived on Mount Helicon and, banging his hoof on the ground, created the fountain Hippocrene, sacred to the Muses.
Fountain of the Organ
Located above the Fountain of Neptune, the Fountain of the Organ owes its name to the miraculous mechanism that thanks to water flowing allows the fountain to play like an organ. Built between 1568 and 1611, consists of a tall building in baroque style, designed by Pirro Ligorio. surrounded by an oval tub, giving the impression that the building comes out of the water.
The hydraulic organ is protected by a small temple built by Bernini.
The hydraulic mechanism was built by the Frenchman Claude Vernard. Its operation was based on the fall of water in cavities underground vault, causing by compression a powerful jet of air that was sent in the pipes of the organ. The mechanism was such a source of great wonder for guests of the villa, such that it is said that Pope Gregory XIII was so amazed by those sounds, that he would be sure that no one was playing in the fountain.
Fountain of Neptune
The Fountain of Neptune is the most spectacular and impressive of Villa d’Este, for the large quantities of water and is also the most recent. It was built in 1927 by restoring the cascade built by Bernini, heavily degraded by about two centuries of neglect. The beauty of this fountain, that we can see in the drawings by Fragonard, is such that it became a model for many eighteenth century fountains, including the famous Royal Palace of Caserta. The huge mass of water falls forming three waterfalls. Large tanks are below, each lower than the other, so that the water flows from one to another, forming tranquil waterfalls in the end.
Placed in front of the Fountain of Neptune, from which they receive water, and surrounded by rich vegetation, the Peschiere are three basins of rectangular shape. They are animated by jets that arise from the vases placed along their edges. They were used as pleasant place for walking along their edges, to raise valuable species of freshwater fish and to give a chance to those staying the villa to enjoy fishing.
Fountain of Abundance
It is placed near the wall on the south side of the garden, near the old entrance to the Villa. On a decorated background there is a copy in travertine copy of Diana of Ephesus, with many breasts, symbolizing the fecundity of nature and the uninterrupted flow of nature.
Fountains of Mete
There are two fountains located at the bottom of Villa d’Este garden. They are composed of three large circular stones, one upon the other in descending order, covered with moss, on their respective top there are two jets. These two fountains are the representation of the Meta Sudans fountain in Rome, located between the Arch of Constantine and the Roman Coliseum where Roman gladiators washed after the fighting.
Round of cypresses
It is located in the lower part of the garden, on the main axis, near the original entrance of the villa.
It is a circular portico, surrounded by giant old cypress trees. There are four low fountains. From here you can see a beautiful and fascinating view of the palace and the garden, a view which caused much astonishment in the sixteenth century visitors.