The Garden Guide

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

Italian garden writers

Previous - Next

149.The Italian authors on gardening are not numerous. The earliest writers on rural subjects appear to have considered agriculture of more importance than gardening; and though there was a poem entitled Il Giardino by Marino Angionese published at Naples as early as 1490, and a work called La Villa, by Bartolemeo Taegio, 4to, printed at Milan in 1559; yet both works contain rather an enumeration of gardens, than any thing relating to the art of gardening. The first work exclusively devoted to gardening is the Manuale dei Giardinieri of Friar Augustine Mandirola, which was published at Vicenza in 1652. In 1726 was published the work of Bartolemeo Clarici before alluded to; and in 1768, Father Filippo Arena published at Palermo a work in three volumes, with many plates, on the nature and culture of flowers. This work was partly translated from the Flora, seu de Florum Cultura, of Baptist Ferrari, but without adopting the puerilities which disfigure that book. Among some smaller works, may be mentioned two on the art of cultivating the pine-apple without the aid of fire heat; one published at Turin in 1777, and the other at Florence in 1797. The first Italian work on what is called English gardening was published by Piacenza at Milan in 1805, and in it the author endeavours to prove that the Italians instructed the English in this kind of gardening, which he says was practised by the ancient Romans. Count Hercules Silva's Dell' Arte de' Giardini Inglesi, published at Milan in 1809, is merely a translation of Hirschfeld's great work on the subject. Pindemonte, Mabil, and Filippo Re, are three other celebrated Italian writers on gardening, the latter being by far the most voluminous.