Gems of Italy’s se­cret gar­dens

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

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.

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