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 13th May, 3rd June, 9th September 2014
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 Italian Lakes; Lakes Como & Maggiore by Boat, 1st to 6th June 2014
We seek out the finest lakeside and island gardens, mostly by boat, our days infused with the tranquillity and exquisite light of the Italian Lakes, at night revelling in the fin de siècle atmosphere of the lakeside hotels. Botanical interest is coupled with the fascinating history of gardens of the Renaissance and Baroque and of the nineteenth century. We are accommodated at two fine lakeside hotels: 4 star Villa Flori on Lake Como and The Grand Hotel Majestic overlooking Lake Maggiore, all rooms with lake views and embarkation from the hotel jetties on many of the days.
‘HORTUS goes to Piedmont’; Landscapes & Gardens of Turin, 1st to 6th May 2014
A splendid tour from the Alpine meadows of northern Piedmont, through paddy fields and rows of poplars in the Po Valley to the handsome streets of Turin. It was here that Russell Page designed some of his most famous gardens. Includes the magnificent landscapes of palaces and villas belonging to the House of Savoy, whose link with Piedmont spanned almost nine centuries. Here we will find gardens deeply influenced by French fashion: green Versailles boxes replace terracotta pots for lemons, and the deciduous trees that grow so well here planted in broad avenues.