Located in the north Lazio town of Caprarola, about 50 km north-west of Rome, Palazzo Farnese was designed by Vignola and built for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese between 1559 and 1575.
The gardens of this magnificent, five-sided building lie behind and above the palace. Two "secret" formal gardens lie outside the summer and winter apartments, connected to them by a wooden bridge over the moat which surrounds the palace. Beyond these a path leads up through a chestnut wood and then becomes an avenue leading to a casino, or summer house, which stands at the top of a flight of walled steps.
A water staircase runs down the centre of the steps and grottoes are set into the retaining walls. At the top of the stairs the fontana della tritona stands in a small piazza. The casino is surrounded by a formal garden and 28 statues line the terrace.
The palazzo is closed on Mondays and the gardens are open on weekdays only. Tues-Sun from 08.30 -19.30, with tickets office open until 18.45. Tickets cost €5.