Before starting the work to create the fabulous fountains of the “Villa d’Este”, it was necessary to convert into a great palace what had been, the monastery and cloister where Benedictines and Franciscans lived. The official residence of the governor of Tivoli needed to be a dignified palace, not only to accommodate renowned families such as the D’Estes and Borgias, but also worthy of a Cardinal who aspired to be Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
The monastery underwent major renovations to accommodate the enormous entourage of Cardinal d’Este. The Villa is comprised of two levels, full of rooms and halls with frescoes, ornaments and even thematic fountains. Beginning at the upper entrance in the “Plaza de Trento”, one passes through a hall that leads to the “Sala de Solomón” and later to the inner courtyard where the first of many fountains is found; the “Fontana di Venere”.
Accordingly, the first floor was dedicated to the housing and living quarters for the Cardinal with its apartments and private chapel. The lower floor has several rooms with beautiful murals. There we find the Halls of Noah, Glory, Of the Hunt, Moses, Venus, Hercules and many more.
One has to stop at each room, hall and chamber to enjoy the Villa’s art.