Ligorio was born in Naples. In 1534 he moved to Rome, where he developed his interest in antiquities, and was named superintendent to the ancient monuments by the Popes Pius IV and Paul IV. In 1549 he began excavations in the Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli and designed his masterwork, the water works at Villa d'Este, for Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este. He also played a role in designing the fountains at Villa Lante in Bagnaio, working alongside Vignola. His Mannerist taste is present also in the Casina Pio IV (also known as Villa Pia) at the Vatican (1559?C1562).
In 1568 he was fired by Paul V for having criticized Michelangelo's work in St. Peter's Basilica, and moved to Ferrara, where he was guest of Duke Alfonso II d'Este.
As a scholar of antiquities, one of his most famous published works is a map of ancient Rome (Antiquae Urbis Imago) from 1561.
He died in Ferrara in 1583.
neptunbrunnen i parken