Just outside of Rome near the small town of Tivolli is the Villa d’Este and its spectacular water gardens.
When Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este arrived in Tivoli as civil governor of the town in 1550, the son of Lucrezia Borgia decided the Benedictine monastery was too modest for him. So he embarked on creating something far more grandiose.
A tunnel was excavated 600 metres long and over two metres in diameter, allowing water to course through at more than 1,200 litres per second. That water was channelled into large tanks, ready to feed the water features. In today’s money, the work would cost a minimum of £100m.
I’m not one for remembering statistics but Google is – 35,000 square metres of gardens, 290 nozzles, 250 waterfalls, 100 ponds, 50 fountains and 3 fishponds. That all adds up to something rather special.