Bagnaia is a small town not far from Viterbo. It was famous for its thermal baths, hence the name Bagnaia, from the Italian word bagno (bath). For garden and fountain lovers, this place is paradise. The nearby Viterbo was a very important papal city; therefore the powerful cardinals of Viterbo built wonderful palaces in the surrounding areas, such as Villa Lante in Bagnaia and Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola.
Cardinal Gambara commissioned Villa Lante in the 15th century as his summer residence. Water was a very important commodity and the main feature of many Italian gardens of the time, every very one of them full of fountains and water features. Walking around the gardens of Villa Lante is very relaxing and just listening to the sound of water, on a hot sunny day, refreshes the mind and the spirit.
I remember having heard about the beauty of Villa Lante many times, but only got there years later, to be incredibly impressed by it’s beautiful gardens. It was a sunny September day and I actually didn’t really want to go, since it was very hot. Convinced by a photographer friend, I eventually gave in and drove to Bagnaia. It wasn’t far, only about 30 minutes from where I live, but one of those places that you think “I’ll go tomorrow, or next week” and you never do. I am so happy I went. Yes, it was very hot, but the sound of water, the shade of the trees, the incredible fountains and the Italian garden were so overwhelming that I wondered why it had taken me so long to go.
Sometimes the most beautiful things are just under our noses and we don’t even notice. I knew Villa Lante was beautiful and that it really deserved a visit, but like many things, time passes and we never get round to doing them. This experience taught me a lesson: to make it a point to get to know my area well and enjoy what it has to offer. Incredibly, there is always something new, exiting and fascinating to do.