Um, hi guys! So, guess who meant to write more over the summer? And guess who got busy with other things? I’m sure you’ve been busy too, though, so I refuse to feel bad. Would you really have made time to read my blogposts while you were marathoning Parks and Recreation and baking way too many cakes with chocolate buttercream frosting? (Of course, it’s not as if I spent my summer doing that…really!) No, of course you wouldn’t have! But school starts back up again in about two weeks, so I thought I would catch you up on my life before things get crazy. You’re welcome.
So as you might have noticed, I didn’t get a chance to blog very much while I was in Rome (doing a summer study abroad in creative writing – check out my previous posts on Keats in Rome and cats in Rome). Suffice to say that after staying up until 2 am writing a sestina, writing a blog post was the last thing on my mind. Now don’t get me wrong: I loved the course and would do it again in a heartbeat. But it was super-intense and when I did have free time, all I wanted to do was sleep. Or eat gelato. Preferably both things, actually. At the same time. Except I would probably choke on the gelato, and that would be unattractive. And uncomfortable.
ANYWAYS. In my opinion, the best field trip we took while in Rome was to the Villa D’Este. You would think that I would be tired of seeing opulent houses built by cardinals who had too much money, even if this particular cardinal, Ippolito II D’Este, was the son of Lucrezia Borgia. (In case you were wondering, the Borgias really were as ruthless and awful as the TV show makes them out to be. Especially oops-I-killed-my-husband-off-again Lucrezia.) But while the villa is lovely, with fairy-tale views of the town below and delicate frescoes on every available surface, the garden is what really caught my eye.
According to the guidebook that I nerdily bought, the garden is the height of Renaissance perfection, which basically means plants in boxes. Renaissance folk were rather frightened by the idea of nature untamed, and did everything in their power to tame it. But the result, while not really resembling a forest or a jungle in the slightest, is really quite beautiful!
The garden is built into the side of the hill that the villa stands on, and has a really interesting tiered arrangement. The different “levels” of the garden contain all sorts of fountains and hide-aways and water tricks: at some point in the garden, water is made to flow over the pavement in a way that isn’t visible from afar, so that you end up stepping into a puddle and soaking your shoes or better yet, slipping and falling. The cardinal could enjoy people making fools out of themselves from the comfort and privacy of his balcony, which seems rather sinister. But then again, he was related to the Borgias.
Words really don’t do the garden justice, so I will leave you with pictures! I shall write more soon