Seven of the most beautiful gardens in Italy
Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 10 Sep 2019
This year, more of our tours than ever before take in some of Italy’s most spectacular gardens. They include a broad collection ranging from one or two of Italy’s less well-known gardens to some of its most celebrated green spaces, including the gardens of the Italian lakes and several which feature on garden writer and broadcaster, Monty Don’s Italian gardens’ list. If you’re not sure which are the best Italian gardens to visit but like the idea of combining walking with some botanical beauty, you may find these walking and garden tours in Italy whet your appetite!
Villa d'Este, Tivoli
After meeting at Rome airport, we kick off our Wilds of Abruzzo tour with a tour of one of Italy’s most theatrical gardens, the UNESCO World Heritage Villa d’Este. Set on the hillside below the town of Tivoli, the villa is an architectural wonder, but it is the striking garden, with its extravaganza of showstopping fountains, that draws the crowds. Forget the simplicity of the early Tuscan gardens - this early Baroque masterpiece is crammed full of water features, elaborate statues, intricately-sculpted grottoes and mosaic paving!
Isola Bella and Villa Taranto, Italian Lakes
The horticultural highlight of our Italian Lakes tour is our guided visit to the villa and garden on Isola Bella. Surrounded by the deep blue waters of Lake Maggiore, this showcase garden was established by the Borromeo family in the 17th century. Highlights include the 200-year-old camphor tree, and the terrace, planted with roses, hibiscus and citrus fruits. Visit in springtime for the abundant displays of camellias and rhododendrons. The Italian Lakes tour also allows free time to visit the gardens of Villa Taranto, established in 1931. The 16-hectare English-style garden today features over 20,000 plant varieties and species, set amongst terraced gardens with waterfalls, lawns and a Dahlia Maze.
Castello di Bagnolo, Piedmont
Created at the end of the 17th century, and later redesigned at the beginning of the 19th century, the stonewalled garden around the privately-owned and relatively unknown Castello di Bagnolo is characterised by twisting paths, shady woods and wonderful floral displays. The gardens are at their best in mid to late June when the hydrangeas are in full bloom. We round off the garden visit on our Mountains of Piedmont tour with a wonderful lunch at the castle.
La Foce, Southern Tuscany
Overlooking the magnificent Val d’Orcia in southern Tuscany, a visit to La Foce is undoubtedly one of the high points of our new Etruscan Trails tour. Owned by writer and horticulturalist Iris Origo, who recorded daily life in the valley during the second world war, the garden was originally designed by English architect Cecil Pinsent who was entrusted with the task of expanding the view over the Val d’Orcia and the Amiata mountain. The formal Italian garden is all geometric lines and rigid box hedges but stroll up to the rose garden and you’ll find lavender hedges and an atmospheric wisteria-covered pergola and, beyond that cherry trees and cypresses set amongst a carpet of aromatic thyme and rosemary.
The Castles of Celsa and Brolio, Tuscany
Our Tuscan Harvest tour takes us to the Castle of Celsa. It has been in the present owner’s family for the last four centuries and is situated in the picturesque countryside of the “Montagnola Senese”, the hills to the north of Siena. The fabulous gardens include the charming “English Wood”, the stunning Italian style garden and a beautiful sixteenth-century fountain. Last but not least on our Tuscan Harvest tour, we visit the magnificent Brolio Castle in the heart of the Chianti Classico countryside. Dominating the landscape for over ten centuries, the castle is still home to the Ricasoli family and therefore closed to the public. We take a tour of the chapel and garden which features a classic 16th century geometric Renaissance section.