Dear Reader, a very warm welcome to this new Blog I have called "A Garden in Venice". Experience a different perspective of Venice: the authentic Venice it has always been: A Town, A Garden in the midst of the Lagoon. On this site, you will get to know flowers and gardens in Venice, basically all sorts of gardens, including background information on ancient traditions and lifestyle that is still practiced and very much alive here today.
|Impatiens - flowers next to Piazza San Marco - Giardini reali ...|
Here is your site to explore the Venetian garden and gardening heritage, and how Venetians value these treasures today. A few hundred years back, Venice was the town in Europe counting most gardens and botancial gardens. But read how Giuseppe Tassini described it 100 years ago, based on the famous words of architect Jacopo Sansovino (+ 1570): Gardens as a way of life, a background to normal days.
Quel bisogno che noi proviamo molte fiate di respirare aria più libera, e di rallegrare lo sguardo nell'aspetto degli arbori, dell'erbe e dei fiori, veniva ... provato anche dai nostri padri, ed è perciò che, fino dagli antichi tempi, noi troviamo in Venezia,alla Giudecca e in Murano, parecchi orti e giardini ...
|First description of Gardens in Venice|
|Venice is dotted with gardens, tiny and bigger ones. Private and public ones, hotel and restaurant gardens, convent and kitchen gardens ... (Google picture)|
Palace gardens were created, but first there were the vegetable gardens of convents and parish churches and monasteries, and the inhabitants' vegetable gardens surrounding houses and their courtyards. Famous palace gardens included those belonging to the noble families of Venice, the Rizzo-Patarol, Sormani-Moretti, Gritti, Dandolo, Loredan, Corner, Vendramin ...
|Private home: herb garden near Campo San Zaccaria|
Convent gardens and herbs and vegetable gardens include San Francesco della Vigna or the Redentore gardens, that can still be visited today. There is also a biogarden initiative started in the Santa Croce area.
|Convent gardens in Castello: San Francesco della Vigna|
Numerous private gardens, hotel gardens open to everyone, like the Boscolo Hotel dei Dogi, Hotel Cipriani, Hotel San Clemente, to name just a few, and lots and lots of terrace and roof gardens, the so-called altane and liagò. Public gardens, like the Giardini Reali next to Piazza San Marco.
|Blue plumbago balcony gardens overlooking Campo San Zaccaria in Castello|
After the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797 it was actually the British expats that came to live in Venice that kind of resuscitated the Venetian garden culture as very sensitive and sustainable gardeners. In the 19th centuries many old noble families in Venice were impoverished and often had to give up their gardens or had other things to do to survive but could not tend their gardens. Frederick Eden in his landmark book described what was gardening like in Venice at the end of the 19th century. This is a sort of garden bible, and its tipps are so useful to anyone trying to grow a garden on the salty soil of the lagoon islands.
|A public garden next to the Piazza, mind you, there are special views towards the Campanile (Google Picture)|
Believe me, there are still quite a lot of gardens left, though most are tucked away behind secret stone walls. But visitors to Venice are not really aware of that as we Venetians are. This is why I wanted to create this Blog: here you can read about gardens in Venice itself, gardens on the islands of the Lagoon, about ancient and famous ones, public and private ones. As I am writing, I am witnessing so many initiatives started by Venetians themselves to embellish and value their gardens, from simple window gardens to courtyards.
|A picture (Google) shows you the garden landscape next to the Salute Church. It is like this all over town - campi, campielli, corti, campazzi, public squares and private courtyards - gardens everywhere ... (Google picture)|
|Green church courtyard - San Giorgio dei Greci, Castello|
And it's not all about flowers and bushes growing in these gardens, it is at least as much about kitchen and vegetable gardens and ancient orchards, herbal gardens, and their harvests, used for cooking and herbal remedies alike, and the markets in Venice where you can buy these extraordinary foods and produce. We will explore history and traditions of gardens and culinary arts alike, the secrets hidden behind walls of private homes and in books lost to the public. In short, here we find out more about what the Ancient Republic of Venice can give modern man of today.
|Noble palace garden on the Canal Grande, seen from the Accademia bridge|
Now expect a very unsual site full of topics and knowledge that you cannot look up in guidebooks, and neither in cookbooks or books on gardening. It is like a window sill from which you can look out and back into a world made of secret gardens, that the ordinary visitor can get a glimpse of only from above, before arriving in or leaving Venice.
|Near the Chiesa di Miracoli, in the Sestiere Cannaregio|
|A lush restaurant garden shaded by uva fragola grapes, in a 15th centry palace courtyard in the sestiere di Castello|