Botanical Gardens in Italy There are about 1400 botanical gardens and arboreta in the world receiving over 100 million visitors per year. A large number are located in Europe and more than 30, including the University botanical gardens as well as others, in Italy. Italy boasts a historic first with respect to botanical gardens; the first structures of this kind were already founded in the 13th century at the Vatican in Rome and in the 14th century at Salerno, although both are no longer in existence. The function of these gardens was to display plants for medical use, as in the University botanical gardens, still existing, created in the 16th century in Padua, Pisa and Florence. Most Italian botanical gardens were founded in the second half of the 18th century and in the 19th century.
|HANBURY BOTANIC GARDENS – La Mortola, Ventimiglia (Liguria) • www.giardinihanbury.com|
Address: Giardini Botanici Hanbury – La Mortola Corso Montecarlo, 43 – 18039 Ventimiglia (IM)
Among the numerous Italian and foreign gardens which may be visited today, the Hanbury Botanic Gardens occupy quite a special place. Involved, in fact, is an execeptional acclimatization area where exotic plants arriving from all regions of the world, live together in the open air even though out of their natural environment. The Hanbury Botanic Gardens were created in 1867 when Sir Thomas Hanbury, holidaying on the Côte d’Azur , was struck by the beauty of Cape Mortola, near Ventimiglia, and began to purchase, piece by piece, part of the land which later amounted to eighteen hectares. A pastureland zone was involved , bounded on three sides, by mountains which protected it from the wind , and to the south-east, washed by a flawless sea.
|BOTANICAL GARDENS “Villa Taranto” – Verbania Pallanza (Piedmont) • www.villataranto.it|
Address: Giardini Botanici Villa Taranto – Via Vittorio Veneto 111, 28922 Verbania Pallanza (VB)
This botanical garden, of about 16 hectares, was created in 1931 by Captain Neil McEacharn, whose Mausoleum can be visited in the garden itself. He imported flowers and trees from all over the world and planted them here creating a wonderful scenery and beautiful views of the lake. The foreshortenings are perfectly studied and in each season you can admire different kinds of flowers. For example, in April you can see the mimosas and the 80.000 tulips in flower. In May the magnolias, in August the hortensias and 300 different kinds of dahlias besides many others. Every tree or flower has a label showing both its botanic name and its every-day name. There are also fountains with water-plants and greenhouses full of tropical plants. Captain McEacharn donated the villa and its garden to the Italian State. The villa, which is not open to the public, belongs to the Prime Minister and is used for important international meetings.
|BOTANIC GARDEN – Torino (Piedmont) • web site|
Address: Castello del Valentino Viale P.A. Mattioli 25 – Torino
This is the seat of the Department of Vegetal Biology of Turin University. Founded in 1729 It was enlarged in 1894 with the addition of the Arboretum. The Gardens are one of the main study centres of Italian botany. The herbarium contains some 700,000 specimens (the second largest collection after the one at Florence). The story of the plant life studied here is contained in the 65 volumes of the Iconografia Taurinensis, that includes 7640 water-coloured tables made between 1752 and 1868. The green houses, gardens and alboretum, scientific laboratories and its rich library of 500,000 volumes together with Italy’s most important collection of 700 specialised publications make Turin’s Botanical Gardens rank among the most internationally famous.
|BOTANICAL GARDENS – Bologna (Emilia Romagna) • web site|
Address: Via Irnerio, 42 – 40126 Bologna
The Botanical Gardens of the University of Bologna were founded in 1568 at the initiative of Ulisse Aldrovandi. Having being transferred various times, the Gardens were finally located in the old Collegio Ferrario. Their total area amounts to two hectares (4,942 acres) with over 5,000 specimens of exotic and local plants. There are three different greenhouses, two of which house tropical plants (especially ferns, orchideacee, bromeliacee and trees of nutritional interest), while the third houses a collection of succulents. Other sections of the Gardens include areas devoted to the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants, ornamental plants, artificially created woods and entire section dedicated to the reconstruction of different natural habitats.
|BOTANICAL GARDEN “Giardino dei Semplici” – Florence (Tuscany) • web site [italian]|
Address: Via Pier Antonio Micheli, 3, 50121 Firenze
The botanical garden whose traditional name is the “Giardino dei Semplici” has much earlier origins and a more varied history. Cosimo I de’ Medici himself promoted the formation of a university botanic garden, and also did much valuable work for the university garden at Pisa suggesting to Cosimo that he might establish one in Florence. This took place on 1st December 1545 and the Giardino dei Semplici thus became the third Botanical Garden after Padua and Pisa. It was arranged with flower beds and avenues and decorated with statues and fountains by wellknown Florentine sculptors. It was soon of national importance. Under the direction of Piero Antonio Micheli and Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti it was updated and improved but the creation of a further two gardens towards the end of the century brought its level down and it was only a hundred years later that it improved again. Now measuring a little more than two hectares, almost all belonging to the original layout it includes hot and temperate houses for the tropical plants, medicinal plants and some superb examples of sequoia trees, cedars and oaks from the early nineteenth century.
|BOTANICAL GARDEN – Rome (Lazio) • web site [italian]|
Address: Largo Cristina di Svezia, 24 – Rome
Located in the middle of Trastevere, this garden was originally established in 1883 when the Corsini family donated their garden to the Italian Government. Now run by the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” it hosts over 3500 species of plants and includes a “Scent-and-Touch” garden that was recently incorporated for those who are visually impaired. The gardens have changed little in the last 250 years. Many of the architectural elements date from the time of King James III. The Fountain of the Tritons was built around 1750 by Ferdinando Fuga. The Monumental Staircase, also by Fuga, dates from 1732.
|BOTANICAL GARDEN [Orto Botanico dell’Università] – Catania (Sicily) • web site|
Address: Dipartimento di Botanica – Via A. Longo 19 I-95125 Catania
The extensive botanical garden has a sector almost entirely dedicated to exotic plants. Another section concerns Sicily’s spontaneous flora on volcanic soil. The gardens in Catania date back to 1858.
The Botanical Gardens occupy an area of 16.000 mq.
– the General Garden (13.000 mq) with above all exotic plants;
– the Sicilian Garden (3.000 mq) intended for the cultivation of natural Sicilian species.