Villa Lante is a Mannerist (Italian Renaissance) garden situated about 80 kilometers north of Rome, in the town of Bagnaia, just outside of the province of Viterbo. It is an excellent place to go if you want to excape the hustle and bustle of Rome for a day.
My boyfriend brought me here on a little trip for my birthday! To get to Villa Lante, we took the train from the Roma Termini train station to the Viterbo station. From here, we caught a cab and drove 4 more kilometers into the small town of Bagnaia.
Villa Lante, previously a hunting ground, was designed and built from 1568 to 1579 by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola for Cardinal Gianfrancesco Gambara. It was kept a total secret for 100 years until it was passed on to the Duke of Bomarzo, Ippolito Lante Montefeltro della Rovere.
The gardens are decorated with cascading waterfalls, magnificent sculptures, and fountains. It is the perfect balance of nature and art. On either side, there are two houses (palaces, really). While they were built thirty years apart from each other, the architecture is identical. The first was first commissioned by Cardinal Gianfrancesco Gambara. It is filled with landscape type frescoes inside. The second, on the other hand, was completed by Cardinal Alessandro Peretti di Montalto. Its frescoes were done in a more Classical theme.
Villa Lante was seriously damaged by Allied bombing during World War II. It wasn't until the late 20th century that it was finally restored by Dr. Angelo Cantoni.
It’s a quaint town, and the main attraction is the villa, but for a quiet, relaxing day trip, this is the perfect place. It’s romantic, the food is authentic, the weather is much cooler than those hot Roman summers, and it’s a perfect escape from the crowds.
Ironically, we just so happened to be here the same day as the earthquake in Umbria, the neighboring region to Lazio. Fortunately, while the tremors were felt, nothing was damaged.
Address: Via Jacopo Barozzi 71, 01100 Bagnaia, Viterbo, Italy
Stay: B&B Da Peppe al Borgo
Entry Fee: € 5
Hours: 8:30 am - 7:00 pm (4:30 in winter), Tuesday through Sunday