The best water features in Europe

or even the world are to be found in the hills near Rome.  For inspiration and ideas there are three gardens with which to cram a life-time of sketches and ideas.   Particularly if you could step back in time and help yourself to the purse of a Cardinal.

My three favourites are these:  Diana of the Ephesians as spouting fertility goddess at  Villa d’Este.

Then for a table for entertaining outside,  one made of stone with a cool rill down the middle for floating cold bottles of  pink lemonade and wine in.  When conversation palls, flick a switch and send up jets of water to cascade, crash, soak the guests and divert.  This is at Villa Lante.

But the most evocative and alluring for sound and looking at has to be the rill that hurries down the staircase at Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola, in the garden above the palazzo for summer entertaining.  The pairs of fish link mouths and the water swells between them.  In the distance it is a giant spine down green and unkempt steps.  Close up it turns into a fishmongers slab.  The model for the glug jug?


  1. HolleyGarden says:

    I have seen the last two in pictures, and have been mesmerized by the remarkable creativity and craftsmanship. I don’t ever remember having seen the first, and I’m certain I would have remembered her! Oh, how I wish I could see these in person. Thanks for showing them.

  2. Sunita says:

    I love the idea of the second one. What a great way to liven up a dull party (or to get boring guests to leave!)with the flip of a switch 😀

  3. The first one is just wild. Wow. I’m glad I’m not that goddess, or any goddess for that matter. Thanks for showing them all to us.~~Dee

  4. These are all beautiful and creative…I love water features…

  5. Garden Sense says:

    I love those fish and the beautiful line of the basins!

  6. Yes, I agree — they’d be neat to see in person. But thanks for sharing!

  7. Donna says:

    The first one is a real conversation starter. I bet a lot is said from everyone viewing that one.

  8. Linniew says:

    The goddess is frightening. How do you expect me to sleep at night after that?

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