The fountains and surprise water jets of the Ninfeo degli Specchi, or Nymphaeum of Mirrors, are flowing once again – after 300 years.

Horti Farnesiani secret gardens belonging to the powerful Farnese family, the cave-like nymphaeum is attributed to the Renaissance architect Pirro Ligorio.
In the mid-16th century the Farnese family built their “garden of delights” among ancient Roman ruins on the northern slopes of the Palatine Hill.
Established by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the terraced Horti Farnesiani featured aviaries and magnificent sculptures however by the 18th century the gardens had become completely abandoned and overgrown.

The Ninfeo degli Specchi, which was originally covered with a domed roof, was decorated with stalactites, mosaics and mirror-holding satyrs. The water jets, designed to surprise visitors, bounced off the dome’s ceiling, providing the effect of rain.

Now modern-day visitors can experience the fun of being sprayed unexpectedly by “rain” thanks to newly-installed water jets, hidden once more at the nymphaeum.