Villa Farnese di Caprarola was designed by the architect Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese.
There is a close correlation between the villa and gardens, conceived
as a unity even if they have since been progressively changed.
Vignola achieved a synthesis between nature and architectural artifice
using the hillside springs to feed the fountains and making good use of his experience in France to embellish the gardens. He created the ''lower (or secret) gardens'' by excavating the hillside and designed them following a square module, used again as a sub-module inside them for the small parterres. The perspective axes of the two secret gardens form a fan from the north-east and south-west façades and finish, through drawbridges, at the ''Satyrs' Fountain'' and the ''Venus rising from the Sea'' Fountain.
The hillside avenue behind the villa was levelled and planted so that
Cardinal Farnese and his guests could enjoy tamed nature, architecture
and water games. The last intervention was that of the ''Great Upper Gardens'' in 1584, along the hillside in a route dotted with fountains with the Pleasure House at the end. The layout of the garden dates back to Vignola, but the first executor was Giacomo Del Duca: he was responsible for the Pleasure Palace, the Great Garden, the border, water chain and the enclosure with the Belvedere Fountain. In 1620 Girolamo Rainaldi replaced him and introduced a theatrical style with the terrace of the ''Caryatids'', the connection with the Upper Garden, the pavilions at the beginning of the border and the modifications to the Glass Fountain.