The Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa) at Tivoli near Rome was constructed between 118 and 134 AD and completed only four years before the Emperor died. It was a massive complex of monumental buildings and gardens on a site covering some 300 hectares and is the most complete estate to have survived the fall of the Roman Empire. Hadrian was born in Spain and travelled more extensively than any of his predecessors. In the design of his villa and lavish gardens he incorporated features seen elsewhere during his conquests in Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt, including, for example, the Canopus, a sacred pool representing a branch of the Nile. The vast pleasure garden was to have a powerful influence on later garden design, particularly that of the Renaissance. The surviving elements of the site would have been an obvious draw for Girault de Prangey, whose main interest outside his beloved architecture appears to have been botanical specimens and garden design. He also photographed the nearby Villa d'Este and its elaborate but much smaller formal gardens (see Christie's catalogue, May 2003, lots 9 and 10).