Villa D'Este is in Tivoli, on a hillside outside of Rome. It's the kind of place you'd imagine a guy to invest in after his papal run fell short. Which is exactly what happened to Cardinal Ippolito II D’Este around 1550. No, you won't be pope, they said. How about you be the governor of Tivoli instead? So he remodeled the villa in his own honour.
And I'm glad he did. Because it allowed me to take one of my favourite photographs.
I don't need to tell anyone I am not a photographer. Some things are self-evident.
And the memories brought on by this photo, while poignant, have nothing to do with what I like about it either. (Although the hanging garden, the hundred fountains, and so many other splashes of man-molded nature are as fresh in my mind as the tree outside my window.)
What I love is the care, the craftsmanship, the vision, and the execution that allowed me to effortlessly snap five perspectives at once.
The plant in the foreground hangs some 15 metres above the courtyard below. The church in the distance can't be more than a kilometre away, and the next town over perhaps five more. Then there are the hills on the horizon, which would take an hour by car. (Further than the stone masons who created this vista would likely travel in their lifetime.)
The Italian countryside has not changed enough in the last 500 years for me to doubt that the architect who created this vista knew how much it would please me today.
And it makes me think, everytime I look at this picture, pinned above my desk these seven years, that it's worth thinking about what I am doing right now. And that my doing it well may please someone someday.