Villa Lante was a late add to our itinerary and was such a great idea. Built by a Catholic Cardinal with a serious fascination with water, it has tiny echoes of the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. Particularly the waterway cascading down the center of the garden’s top and middle terraces.
The waterway ends with a crab.
Most guide books talk about the stone dining table which has a flowing water center, ostensibly to keep wine cool. It’s neat, I agree, but the Cardinal’s guests probably didn’t actually ‘sit’ and eat at this table, more likely it acted as a kind of buffet for guests to come and go from as they wandered around the gardens many levels.
After the summer’s drought, it was refreshing to spend time in such a green place.
Parco Mostri was a tremendous shift in art and attitude. Created during the 16th century as a way to cope with a spouse’s death, the only goal is to astonish. This is not a garden of pleasure (or power), it is one in which the narrative tantalizes but does not explain. There is no connection between the images, or the occasional pieces of verse. Unsurprisingly, it was a great favorite of Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau.
Our last sight to see on the way was Civita di Bagnoregio, the disappearing city. Rick Steves inspired me to see it, “The town teeters atop a pinnacle rising high above a vast canyon ruled by wind and erosion. The saddle of earth that once connected Civita to its bigger and busier sister town, Bagnoregio, has worn away. Photographs around town show the old donkey path that once linked the hamlets. Today, the only way in or out is by a footbridge.”
We chickened out of the long walk into town, contenting ourselves with just taking pictures. It was already late in the day and we had an hour to go before arriving at our next destination, Il Giardino degli Etruschi.