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
Naples and the Gardens of the Amalfi Coast, 5th April 2019
Discover the beautiful gardens of Southern Italy including Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone on the Amalfi coast, La Mortella on Ischia, Naples Botanical Gardens and La Caserta just outside Naples. You also have the option to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The Great Gardens of Italy, 26th April to 10th May 2018
This 15 day tour includes many of the most spectacular gardens in Italy visiting Rome and the gardens of Tivoli, the Renaissance gardens of Florence and Tuscany, Verona 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.
Gardens of the Italian Lakes: a Gardens Illustrated tour, 1st to 5th October 2018
With Annie Guilfoyle
Featuring some of the finest lakeside and island gardens of this uniquely beautiful region, travelling 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. We progress from gardens of the Renaissance to the twentieth century through compelling and often neglected chapters of Italian garden history. We are accommodated at Hotel Villa Flori overlooking Lake Como, and the Hotel des Iles Borromees on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
HORTUS goes to Venice & the Veneto, 22nd to 27th April 2018
With David Wheeler, editor of HORTUS
Beginning with a glide across the Lagoon by private boat from the airport to the island of Giudecca and our hotel set in a 16th century palladian convent, we visit Torcello to learn about Venetian civilisation, call at a rose garden on the Grand Canal; explore a vegetable garden tended by monks; discover flowers that inspired the Fortuny prints; and visit a remarkable garden designed by Carlo Scarpa. In Verona we are based at the five-star Hotel Due Torri, visiting a fascinating variety of gardens and enjoying traditional dishes in local restaurants and as guests at private villas.
Amalfi & the Bay of Naples: a COUNTRY LIFE tour, 5th to 10th October 2018
Hosted by Nicholas Dakin-Elliot of La Pietra
We travel across the glittering Bay of Naples to the charming island of Ischia; attend a concert at La Mortella and enjoy the lush gardens designed by Russell Page; climb narrow paths to an Amalfi lemon grove; stand on the infinity terrace at Villa Cimbrone; then shift to the vast landscape of Caserta. To reduce travelling time, we have selected two hotels: the Mezzatorre on the island of Ischia and the renowned Hotel Santa Caterina set in the beautiful scenery of the Amalfi Coast, surrounded by the perennial blue of the Mediterranean sea and sky.
Rome, Ninfa & Castel Gandolfo, departing 6th June, 5th September 2017
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