The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Italian Fruit and Vegetable Gardens

Previous - Next

3. Italian Gardening in respect to its Products for the Kitchen and the Dessert 129. The great, variety of soil and climate in Italy enables the Italians to cultivate all the European fruits and vegetables. In Sicily, the pine-apple can be grown with very little protection, and the date palm ripens its fruit in the open air. The grapes of that island, and of the Neapolitan territory, are equal to any in Europe; and the figs are not surpassed by those of Smyrna. The orange and lemon are ripened in the open air at Naples and Genoa. The carob or locust bean tree (Ceratonia siliqua) is cultivated as far north as Genoa; and its long, compressed, and very sweet pods, Mr. Spence informs us, are both eaten by the common people and given to horses. The broccoli and lettuces of the south of Italy are as celebrated as the cabbages and savoys of the North. The gardens of Lombardy are the most luxuriant in vegetation, not only in Italy, but perhaps in Europe. The climate is not so favourable for the perfection of the grape and the orange as that of Naples, nor for the production of large turnips and succulent cabbages as that of Holland; but it possesses a medium of temperature and humidity between the two climates, which is perhaps favourable to a greater number of vegetable productions, than any one climate on the face of our globe.