Villa d'Este, Tivoli (2001)

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The Villa d'Este in Tivoli, with its palace and garden, is one of the most remarkable and comprehensive illustrations of Renaissance culture at its most refined. 

Its innovative design along with the architectural components in the garden (fountains, ornamental basins, etc.) make this a unique example of an Italian 16th-century garden. The Villa d'Este, one of the first giardini delle meraviglie, was an early model for the development of European gardens. 

  • Italy 1982. Villa d'Este, Tivoli. 

Italy 1982. Villa d'Este.

Tivoli (ancient Tibur) is a town in central Italy, in Lazio Region, on a slope of the Sabine Mountains near Rome. At Tivoli the Aniene River (ancient Anio) issues from the mountains in picturesque falls that provide a source of hydroelectric power for the town. Industries include the manufacture of paper. Tivoli was a favorite summer residence of wealthy Romans from the 4th century BC. Among the notable sights are the imposing ruins of the magnificent villa constructed for the Roman emperor Hadrian and the famous Villa d'Este, dating from about 1550. The villa's garden is considered the finest Renaissance garden in Italy, with a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. 

Este is known as an Italian princely family, best known as the ruling dynasty of Renaissance Ferrara. Its founder, Alberto Azzo II (996-1097), was invested with the town of Este near Padua (Padova) by Holy Roman Emperor Henry III. Welf, or Guelph, IV, Alberto Azzo's son by his marriage to a German princess, became duke of Bavaria in 1070. Welf was the ancestor of the ruling dynasties of Brunswick (Braunschweig) and Hannover and, through them, of the sovereigns of Great Britain since 1714.

Alberto Azzo's Italian descendants became lords of Ferrara and Modena in the 13th century. Leonello d'Este (1407-50) made Ferrara a center of art and scholarship; his brother Borso (1413-71) was given the title duke of Ferrara by the pope in 1471. Duke Ercole I (1431-1505) strengthened his family's position by marrying his children into the principal ruling houses of Italy. 

France 1983. Leonardo da Vinci. Charcoal drawing of Isabelle d'Este.

His son Alfonso I (1486-1534), noted as an expert in artillery design, married Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI, but later allied himself with France against the papacy. 

His sisters Beatrice d'Este (1475-97) and Isabella d'Este (1474-1539) were patrons of the painters Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Titian; his son Ippolito II Cardinal d'Este (1509-72) began construction of the Villa d'Este at Tivoli and was a patron of the composer Giovanni da Palestrina. The house of Este lost control of Ferrara in 1598, but continued to rule Modena until 1859.  

One of Leonardo da Vinci's many unfinished paintings is this one of Isabelle d'Este from Ferrara.  

The stamp shows a charcoal drawing (1504) of the painting; the drawing belongs to the Louvre Museum.  

  • France 1983. Leonardo da Vinci: Charcoal drawing of Isabelle d'Este. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Italy (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Italy for further information about such sites. 

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Revised 01 aug 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus 
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