Parks in italy: 5 fantastic places where to spend a sunny day
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«The spring season is coming, as well as Sundays at the park. Young and old go out for a regenerating walk or for a cultural visit in one of the most beautiful and private parks in Italy»
We promised a second episode of the chosen parks in Italy, as in the top ten of 2016 for the The Most Beautiful Park contest, now in its 14th edition. And here they are, ready to feed, once again, your embarrassment of riches.
Villa Pisani Bolognesi Scalabrin, Vescovana (Padova)
One of the choices made by the judges for 2016 is Villa Pisani Bolognesi Scalabrin, in the province of Padua. This time we can talk about one of the most fabulous parks in Italy. Over the course of time, the history of this villa has seen the passage from an ancient medieval court, with Cunizza, the marquise of Este, a sumptuous Renaissance palace, with Cardinal Francesco Pisani, up to a refined 19th century living room, with Countess Evelina Van Millingen.
It’s precisely with the beautiful story of Evelina that the villa has experienced its greatest splendor during the 19th century. Thanks to the countess’ love for culture and nature, a large formal garden was created, conceived to be looked at from above and called “Crispin de Pass”. It has a geometric fan pattern, flowerbeds in boxwood with bulbous and flowers, sculptural furniture with a neo-Renaissance fountain, balustrades, obelisks, herms and exotic peacocks, statues and cherubs. This park manifests the two souls of countess Evelina in every element: the strong English root, which is expressed in the strongly Victorian taste, and the tradition of the Italian garden, which is noted in the presence of stature, vases and fountains. This mix gives life to one of the most harmonious parks in Italy, where the architectural structure and the naturalness of the surrounding park are perfectly amalgamated.
For the visit to the park and the villa admission is 7 euros, and 5 euros for groups of at least 15 people without a guide. As for the opening, you can go all year round, every day from 9.30 to 12.00 and then from 13.30 to 17.00. There are different times for Saturday, Sunday and the holidays. A very interesting detail is the possibility of staying in the B&B of Villa Pisani, with large frescoed rooms and a view of the garden.
Villa Celle, Santomato (Pistoia)
The very first foundation dates back to the year 1000 but its current form, chosen among the 10 finalists of the contest of the most beautiful parks in Italy, is from the end of the 1600s, wanted by Cardinal Carlo Agostino Fabroni from Pistoia. In the mid –1800s, however, still in the wake of the English style park, it was renovated. It’s an exceptional example of a romantic park, which covers about 30 hectares and is bordered by agricultural land, which still today produces excellent wine (Chianti di Montalbano) and equally excellent extra virgin olive oil.
In 1970 the collector Giuliano Gori moved there. He was struck by the 19th century buildings such as the aviary, the tea building, the Egyptian monument, and launched the idea of hosting events within the estate specifically created for the spaces available. This formula provides that every artist who’s invited chooses a space, outdoors or inside one of the historic buildings, and develops their idea according to the place in which it is located. The result is that of a collection of fixed works, which don’t occupy a space but become an integral part of the landscape itself. Today, this collection allows the formation of new generations of contemporary art. Within the context of the parks of Italy, it’s an all-green space that is truly very interesting to visit.
Giardino Buonaccorsi, Potenza Picena (Macerata)
It’s one of the most fascinating parks in Italy, one of a kind, and well known abroad. It’s a garden where time seems to have stopped and it’s the only one from the ‘700 preserved intact in every detail, from the furnishings of the caves, to the design of the flower beds in the shape of a star and lozenges. Unfortunately, little is known about the history of this magical place, but the miracle of the survival of the park is undoubtedly one of its peculiar traits. The Buonaccorsi Garden is a classic example of the Marche’s gardens, and the fact that it’s still intact today is the result of the loving care given to it by the owners, from generation to generation. Also part of the Garden is a vast forest, which grows far from the house, and is separated by a wall. It looks like an English garden, with many trees, an artificial lake and a mound, from whose top you can enjoy a splendid view.
The structure of the villa is that of a country residence, devoted to comfort. In the park we also have a theater of automata and a church, as well as numerous mechanisms of water games. The house stands on top of a small hill, with a wonderful view of green hills and valleys. Going to visit this park and this villa is a unique experience. There are many surprises in store for you: the water games in the gardens, the greenhouses where the life of ancient plants continues, the statues of musicians who move rhythmically with their instruments to the passage of water, the undergrounds, where the large barrels of good wine were kept and where the stone tanks for decanting the oil are still intact.
Villa Floridiana, Napoli
The villa is a complex consisting of one of the greenest parks in Italy, and a villa that houses the Museo Nazionale delle Ceramiche Dica di Martina. It’s located at the southern limit of the Vomero hill and offers a magnificent view of the Gulf of Naples. There are two entrances, one in via Cimarosa and the other in via Aniello Falcone. The villa dates back to the first half of the 18th century and in 1816 Ferdinando I di Borbone bought it as a summer residence for his wife, Lucia Migliaccio, Duchess of Florida, who is responsible for the villa itself. The sovereign wanted a neoclassical structure, and a very large garden with over 150 plant species. The work was completed in 1819.
On that date the complex included: two villas, Villa Floridia and Villa Lucia, separated by a valley, an outdoor theater, a circular storm with columns and dome, fake ruins, fountains, statues and greenhouses, all strictly in neoclassical style. After the death of the spouses, the children sold Villa Lucia and part of the park. Since 1931, one of the largest and oldest collections of European and Oriental decorative arts is exhibited inside the building. One of the most relaxing parks in Italy, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view and get away for a few hours from the hectic life of the city. As such, the park has a dual function: recreational and cultural. It’s open all year round and admission is absolutely free.
Giardino Pubblico “Vittorio Emanuele”, Caltagirone (Catania)
We have arrived to the last of the parks in Italy in 2016, a green space par excellence in the town of Caltagirone, in the province of Catania. In 1851 Giovan Battista Filippo Basile was commissioned for the creation of a general project that, carried forward over the years, would constitute one of the most beautiful and extensive public gardens in Italy.
According to the plan, it was divided into three parts: “Floretta”, “Parterre” and “Giardino Inglese”. To this were added evocative places of the city’s history, giving the place a sacral re-foundation. The park of the myth was then realized, and then it underwent various restorations and changes during the 20th century. In 1915 Ernesto Basile, son of Giovan Battista, designed the access to the villa and the school building, in addition to the grandiose floral-style terracotta balustrade. The main entrance instead consists of two large pylons, surmounted by crouching lions. Despite the many hands that have touched this park and the various changes it has undergone, it remains a lively expression of the collective identity of the Caltagirone community, as well as one of the most beautiful parks in Italy. It has an extension of 10 hectares, on which endless types of vegetation are alternated: boxwood, viburnum, lantana, acacia, Judas trees, ash, elm. In the southern part of the garden there are various species of flowers. Even the fauna is not far behind, there are in fact endless species of large and small birds that nest undisturbed among the branches: sparrows, magpies, wood pigeons but also tawny, blackbird, creeper, goldfinch, blackcap, nightingale and great tit. Also in this case entry is free and there is no opening time.
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