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
Ninfa and the Villa Lante, departing 10th May, 7th June, 6th September 2016
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
Gardens of the Tyrrhenian Sea, 5th to 10th May 2016
Hosted by Helen Yemm, Telegraph Gardens Correspondent
A tour of stimulating contrasts and richly varied gardens: we step off the narrow streets of Naples into a colourful cloister garden; travel across the glittering bay to the charming island of Ischia; climb narrow paths to an Amalfi lemon grove and explore a Moorish cloister; shift from the intimacy of a private villa to the vast landscape of Caserta. We have selected two hotels: Grand Hotel Parkers, Naples 5*, an elegant hotel with dramatic views across the Bay of Naples, and The Hotel Villa Maria 4* in the small hill town of Ravello.
Gardens of the Italian Lakes, 15th to 20th May 2016
Hosted by COUNTRY LIFE contributor Jenny Condie
Our journey to the Italian Lakes 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 on Como & Maggiore. Combining great botanical interest with the fascinating history of the gardens’ origins, our tour moves from the Renaissance to the Twentieth century through compelling and often neglected chapters of Italian garden history.
The Great Gardens of Italy, 25th April to 9th May 2016
This 15 day tour includes many of the most spectacular gardens in Italy visiting the Amalfi Coast, Rome and the gardens of Tivoli, the Renaissance gardens of Florence and Tuscany, as well as the extravagant gardens on Lakes Como and Maggiore.
Travel in a small group and enjoy a relaxed pace as well as excellent local food and wine.
‘Tuscan Gold’; Gardens of Florence & Chianti, 22nd to 26th September 2016
Hosted by Nick Dakin-Elliot of La Pietra
This golden late-summer tour has been carefully designed to include some of the most beautiful and exclusive gardens of Tuscany. It was here that the Renaissance took root as we will see in the gardens of the Medici villas dating back to the 15th century. This tour also incorporates some important gardens of the early 20th century when English speaking expatriates comprised one sixth of the population of Florence. We also appreciate how these masterpieces of garden architecture are being managed in Italy today and for this we are privileged to have the head gardener of Villa La Pietra, Nick Dakin-Elliot, as tour host.