Many people think Italy has the best gardens in the world. They are wonderfully designed but not notable for their flowers. The most popular area for garden visiting is the western coastal region extending from Florence through Rome to Naples, though Northern Italy also has good gardens (eg Isola Bella). The areas and periods of particular interest are:
Garden Finder for Italian Gardens
Travel arrangements for Italian garden visiting
British and American tour operators take visitors to Italian gardens. The alternatives are car hire, which is easy, and public transport, which is cheap and extensive. There can be long hot queues at ticket windows in Italian stations but many stations have automatic ticket machines with instructions in several languages. They look intimidating but are surprisingly easy to use. Driving in country districts is relaxing and easy. Driving in and around the big cities of Italy can be a nightmare: heavy congestion, confusing road signs and hot tempered drivers. An air conditioned car helps.
Escorted Garden Tours in Italy
Rome, Ninfa & Castel Gandolfo, departing 9th May, 6th June, 5th September 2017
This tour includes the two best-loved gardens in Italy ( Villa d’Este
and Villa Lante
) and a charming botanical garden outside Rome (Ninfa
, pictured left - image copyright Daniele Muscetta
Naples and the Gardens of the Amalfi Coast, 11th April and 25th September 2017
Discover the beautiful gardens of Southern Italy including Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone on the Amalfi coast, La Mortella on Ischia, Naples Botanical Gardens and La Caserta just outside Naples. You also have the option to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Gardens of the Italian Lakes, 8th to 13th May 2017
Hosted by Helen Yemm, TELEGRAPH Gardens Correspondent
Our journey will take us to some of the finest lakeside and island gardens of this uniquely beautiful region. We will travel mostly by boat, discovering landscapes of quiet enchantment and sublime grandeur. While our days will be infused with exquisite light, by night we will revel in the fin de siècle atmosphere of our lakeside hotels. We are accommodated at two lovely lakeside hotels offering a perfect combination of elegance, tradition and charm: Hotel Villa Flori overlooking Lake Como; and the Grand Hotel Majestic on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
‘Essential Sicily’, 30th April to 5th May 2017
Hosted by Sicily-based garden design consultant, Rachel Lamb
Sicily is surprisingly lush: by the end of April, wild flowers carpet the slopes of Mount Etna and the fragrance of zagara, or citrus blossom leads to groves of blood oranges and to private gardens packed with ornamental citrus. We stay at two fine hotels: Algilà Ortigia is a small charming hotel in the heart of ancient Ortigia surrounded by Baroque churches, Greek temples and waterfront promenades; San Domenico is a converted 15th century monastery in the heart of old Taormina, blessed with fragrant terraced gardens and wonderful views of the sea and Mount Etna.