Gems of Italy’s secret gardens
FOR years, some of Italy’s most beautiful gardens were locked away from public view.
Thankfully, one British woman managed to convince owners to open their gates and share their horticultural gems with the outside world.
That woman is Judith Wade, founder of Italy’s largest garden network, Grandi Giardini Italiani (GGI), meaning ‘Great Italian Gardens’, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Now 124 of Italy’s finest gardens – both privately owned and state run – welcome millions of admirers each year.
Here, Judith shares five of her favourite gardens that all boast spectacular water features... 1. Villa Visconti Borromeo
On the outskirts of Milan, this 16th century house, in the style of a Tuscan villa, enjoys an 18th century garden fountain dedicated to Galatea and Neptune, and 820 trees of 56 different species. 2. Villa d’Este
This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a staggering concentration of fountains, nymphaea, grottos, water games and hydraulic music.
3. Giardino Barbarigo Pizzoni Ardemani
Seventy statues, mostly by Marengo, merge into architecture, waterfalls, fountains and water games in the 37 acres of beautiful nature on the hillside.
4. Parco della Villa Reale di Marlia
Woodland, streams and a lake create a great sense of romance in this series of classical Italian gardens.
5. Parco Idrotermale del Negombo
Thermal springs, with plants brought from Australia, Japan, South Africa and Brazil, plus contemporary art installations.
Want to see more of Italy’s finest gardens? Head to GGI’s Instagram feed.