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Italian Gardens

Judith Wade Bernandi



9.4×9.4in • 24×24cm

224 pages

index included

ISBNs: 0847824950 • 9780847824953

Rizzoli • 2002

Since the earliest Roman settlements, Italians have been expertly cultivating their land into beautiful and creative displays of nature, where terraces and walkways, plants and flowers, water and statuary are combined to provide a unique ad inspiring setting.  The Italian garden has greatly evolved throughout the ages, taking on different forms, favoring different plants, and serving different purposes.  Early Italian gardens made use of citrus, still regarded as an essential element for its bright fruit and shiny leaves.  The ancient art of the topiary was revived in the Renaissance for its drama and elegance, and the refined parterre was developed to spread forth from the great palazzos and provide a dramatic view from their upper stories.  Later, in the nineteenth century, the influence of the English garden took hold, with its meandering paths, asymmetrical lakes, and blossoming trees.

In Italian Gardens, author Judith Wade explores more than five hundred years of this tradition, discussing each of these developments and transporting the reader to thirty-seven of the most captivating gardens of Italy.  Eleven regions are visited, from Lombardy and Piedmont in the north, to the island of Sicily in the south.  Both small and grandiose, historic and contemporary gardens are featured.

Travel with Wade to the aristocratic Villa Favorita in Lugano, where an avenue of cypresses welcomes those who approach; the English-style park of Villa Novare Bertani in Verona, with its seventeenth-century wine cellar; the eighteenth-century Avenue of the Camelias at Lucca's Villa Reale, where the American artist John Singer Sargent painted; and great examples of contemporary Italian landscapes, like La Mortella in Naples, which boasts more than eight hundred species of rare plants.

As "living works of art" these changing displays of nature grow and bloom with the seasons.  Smell the roses and lavender, feel the light spray of the fountain, and listen to the sound of your footsteps on the pebbles-- each locale is vividly portrayed in words and pictures, bringing the experience of each garden to life.

Judith Wade Bernardi is the founder of Grandi Giardini Italiani (Great Italian Gardens), an organization dedicated to educating the public of the rich artistic and botanical heritage of Italian gardens.

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