Villa d’Este was the first, and my favorite, garden we experienced on the tour.  As an Italian Renaissance garden, it exhibited many of the garden features we had learned about making it a significant stop to support our learning.

The first photo shown is a Pegasus statue.  The symbol of Pegasus striking its hoof represents creativity and inspiration, a theme throughout the garden.  At this site the water flows from the mouth and into three river gods, characteristically reclining on their sides.  Showing control through water availability is a recurring theme in many gardens owned by powerful people, including those of the Medici’s.

The second photo shows the entrance in which guests would have taken when visiting Villa d’Este.  Visitors were meant to enter at the bottom of the garden to be impressed by the owner and their wealth as they traveled to the house.

The last photo is a picture of the ponds in the middle of the garden.  These ponds would keep fish fresh for families during times of need or famine.  During the medieval times, gardens were needed to sustain the families’ food supply, so you often see ponds like these in gardens built during the medieval period.

This garden is easily one of the most interesting places I have ever been.  I began walking through this garden with a group of people, but as we started moving I decided I wanted to explore on my own.  It felt more profound in silence, contemplating my own emotions.  I still recall the feeling of walking into one of the grottoes behind the largest fountain and being overcome by both the sound and the silence of it.