The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section I. Historical Sketches.

Italian gardens and marbles

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Of the latter, the Italians have been most successful in their ornamental grounds. Their beautiful marbles seem to have been supplied by Art in too great profusion to be confined even to the colonnades of their villas, and broad enriched terraces, vases, and statues, everywhere enliven, and contrast with, the verdure of the foliage; trees and plants being often less abundant than the sculptural ornaments which they serve to set off to advantage. An island -Isola Bella-in one of their little lakes, has often been quoted as the most highly wrought type of the Italian taste; "a barren rock," says a spirited writer, "rising in the midst of a lake, and producing but a few poor lichens, which has been converted into a pyramid of terraces supported on arches, and ornamented with bays and orange trees of amazing size and beauty." The Villa Borghese, at Rome, is one of the most celebrated later examples, with its pleasure grounds three miles in circumference, filled with symmetrical walks, and abounding with an endless profusion of sculpture.