With a unique tem­per­ate and sub­trop­i­cal cli­mate, stun­ning sights and nature, Italy is con­sid­ered one of Europe’s fore­most tourist des­ti­na­tions. There is some­thing to see and lovers of gar­den­ing. Land­scap­ing and large gar­den designs have inspired gar­den design­ers for cen­turies, and today the Ital­ian style of land­scape design is one of the world’s most rec­og­nized. These gar­dens are often men­tioned among the top attrac­tions in Italy. This list includes only a few of them — there are many more gar­dens in Italy for spe­cial pur­pos­es. For exam­ple, the 30 acres of green labyrinths at Vil­la Pisani near Venice are known as one of the most intri­cate green labyrinths in the world, while Pad­ua is home to the old­est exist­ing botan­i­cal gar­den in the world.

gardens of italy

Entry relat­ed to place: Italy
Villa d’Este Gardens in Tivoli

The exten­sive gar­dens were cre­at­ed by Car­di­nal Ippoli­to D’Este dur­ing the Renais­sance to sur­round his vil­la with green­ery. It is the pin­na­cle of Ital­ian land­scap­ing crafts­man­ship and is also a mod­el for Eng­lish gar­dens. They seem to embody the very essence of the Ital­ian Renais­sance. The project of the Ital­ian gar­den made good use of the excel­lent loca­tion, alter­nat­ing the foun­tains with the green alleys of the park. It will take you only a few hours to see all the sights — numer­ous pools, foun­tains, cas­cades, and oth­er water struc­tures, as well as pavil­ions, sculp­tures and obser­va­tion ter­races. Above all, don’t miss the chance to take in the views from the Grande Log­gia and stand under the Fontana del­l’O­va­to water­fall, a com­plete water the­ater with an elab­o­rate water organ.
Address: Tren­to Square, Tivoli

Gardens of Villa Carlotta, Como

On the west­ern shore of Lake Como are the pic­turesque gar­dens of Vil­la Car­lot­ta. The tem­per­ate year-round cli­mate con­tributed to the fact that this place was called the Tremezzi­na Riv­iera. The foliage here remains green all win­ter, even when the alpine peaks are cov­ered with white snow caps. This gar­den is more col­or­ful than most clas­si­cal Ital­ian gar­dens, which are more depen­dent on cli­mat­ic con­di­tions. The slopes at Vil­la Car­lot­ta are plant­ed with a mass of flow­ers that bloom accord­ing to the sea­son. The gar­dens fol­low the nat­ur­al slopes, inter­spersed with forests and reveal­ing a mag­nif­i­cent lake over­look­ing the moun­tains. Vis­it­ing the park in May to see 400 camel­lias and tall rhodo­den­drons in full bloom. Hun­dreds of ros­es and col­or­ful annu­als bloom here through­out the sum­mer. For­est gar­dens pro­vide a cool and pleas­ant pas­time on a hot sum­mer day. Address: Via Regi­na 2, Tremez­zo, Como

Villa Medici near Florence

On the hill­sides near Flo­rence, the Medici fam­i­ly built vil­las to escape the sum­mer heat of their city palaces. They took advan­tage of the open space to sur­round them with rich late renais­sance style gar­dens. Three such gar­dens are now open to tourists. Vil­la Gam­bera­ia is locat­ed in a typ­i­cal renais­sance gar­den with land­scape mark­ings in geo­met­ric accu­ra­cy, many parter­res and ter­races, foun­tains and archi­tec­tur­al mon­u­ments. Medici gar­dens are described as the most per­fect exam­ple of Ital­ian gar­den art.

Don’t miss the chance to stay at the neigh­bor­ing Vil­la la Petra­ia, whose ter­raced gar­dens alter­nate with orange tree alleys for stun­ning views of Flo­rence. A few hun­dred meters west of it is the Vil­la Medici di Castel­lo, whose gar­dens are fra­grant with the scents of jas­mine and oth­er plants. The elab­o­rate grot­to with mosaics and ani­mal sculp­tures is the work of archi­tect Gior­gio Vasari.

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Boboli Gardens, Florence

It took a cen­tu­ry to com­plete the Boboli Ter­raced Gar­dens, now one of Flo­rence’s main attrac­tions. They occu­py an area of ​​111 acres behind the Flo­ren­tine Palaz­zo Pit­ti. Boboli have always been ranked among the best clas­si­cal parks in Europe, deft­ly com­bin­ing nature, archi­tec­ture and water fea­tures so char­ac­ter­is­tic of Renais­sance gar­dens. All this is con­nect­ed by hik­ing trails and pavil­ions, along which you can walk end­less­ly. At the top is the ter­race of the Kaf­fee­haus, which offers an unpar­al­leled view of Flo­rence and the great dome of Brunelleschi. Oth­er attrac­tions include Fonta del Bac­co Park with a stat­ue of the dwarf Bac­cus on a tur­tle, the dec­o­ra­tive cave Grot­ta del Buon­tal­en­ti, the Foun­tain of Nep­tune and many beau­ti­ful mon­u­ments. Chest­nuts, cork oaks and pines are plant­ed along the alleys lead­ing to the main square.

Villa Balbianello, Lenno

One of Italy’s finest sights along Lake Como is the wood­ed penin­su­la of Pun­ta di Bal­bianel­lo, which ris­es steeply above the water. Ter­raced gar­dens and a baroque vil­la were cre­at­ed for the car­di­nal in the 1700s. You can get here on a hik­ing trail from the vil­lage of Lenno, but it’s best to take a trip around Lake Como in a small boat. The boat cir­cles the penin­su­la, allow­ing you to get a bet­ter view of the gar­dens from all sides before you dis­em­bark and go up to the vil­la. Majes­tic trees, flow­er­ing bush­es and ter­races with beau­ti­ful sculp­tures are plant­ed here. Final­ly, vis­it the view­ing plat­form and admire the views of the lake and moun­tains to the north. The vil­la is quite inter­est­ing in terms of archi­tec­ture, but can­not be com­pared with the gar­dens and stun­ning nature.

Villa Taranto, Lake Maggiore

You could eas­i­ly con­fuse the mas­sive flower beds, man­i­cured lawns, and neat for­est paths of Vil­la Taran­to with the gar­den of an Eng­lish park — and right­ful­ly so. The gar­den was designed by a retired Scot­tish offi­cer in the late 1940s. The botanist deter­mined that this micro­cli­mate on the west­ern shore of Lake Mag­giore is ide­al for flow­ers and plants from all over the world. Some of the gar­den’s plants are native to north­ern Italy, but there are also vari­eties from the Ama­zon rain­for­est and oth­er exot­ic envi­ron­ments. There are more than 20,000 species of flow­ers, trees, bush­es and algae in the gar­dens and park. One set of dahlias alone includes more than 300 species.

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Giusti Garden, Verona

One of the finest exam­ples of the Ital­ian Renais­sance gar­den sprawls around the Verona vil­la of the Venet­ian diplo­mat Agosti­no Giusti. He found­ed this gar­den in 1570 in a rather unusu­al way. First­ly, Giusti’s gar­den is rel­a­tive­ly small, and sec­ond­ly, it is locat­ed not in front of the vil­la, but above it. This loca­tion offers some of the most beau­ti­ful views of Verona. The gar­den is beau­ti­ful­ly dec­o­rat­ed with numer­ous parter­res, a labyrinth and wind­ing pas­sages, mak­ing it easy to escape from the sum­mer heat of Verona. Its wilder part is locat­ed at the high­est point, where a nar­row path with bush­es and trees leads.

Sigurt’s garden

Cov­er­ing an area of ​​600,000 square meters, the park stretch­es along the banks of the Min­cio Riv­er, approx­i­mate­ly 24 kilo­me­ters from Verona. Sig­ur­ta Park con­sists of 13 dif­fer­ent sec­tions. Every­one has their own park­ing lot, which makes it much faster to explore every­thing around. The tow­ers of a ruined cas­tle rise above the park, sur­round­ed by gar­den paths. From gleam­ing flower beds and man­i­cured lawns, to a herb gar­den and 18 orna­men­tal lakes, Sig­ur­ta includes absolute­ly every­thing that can be found in an Ital­ian gar­den. There is a tra­di­tion­al labyrinth and grot­to here, but the trees and bush­es are not trimmed into tra­di­tion­al shapes, as in oth­er gar­dens. Instead, they are allowed to cre­ate their own fan­ta­sy forms. The gar­den is best known for its tulip show, with over a mil­lion vibrant flow­ers in full bloom. In oth­er sea­sons, fields of iris­es, ros­es, lilies and asters bloom alter­nate­ly here.

Frascati Gardens near Rome

Noble Roman fam­i­lies of the 16th and 17th cen­turies cre­at­ed mag­nif­i­cent sum­mer vil­las — palaces on the near­by hills. Fras­cati was the most pop­u­lar of the vil­las, many of which have sur­vived to this day. All these gar­dens are built accord­ing to spe­cial projects and dif­fer from each oth­er. Next to the gar­dens of Vil­la Tor­lonia lies the grace­ful ter­raced park of Vil­la Aldo­bran­di­ni with grot­toes, foun­tains and cas­cades of water­falls. In the cen­ter of the park is the Teatro delle Acque (water the­atre), a foun­tain wind­ing around the ter­races. A won­der­ful park sur­rounds Vil­la Fal­conieri out­side the city.

Italian gardens La Mortella, Ischia

The unique nature of the island of Ischia with ther­mal springs inspired the wife of British com­pos­er William Wal­ton to cre­ate a trop­i­cal gar­den here, sur­round­ing their home in the Gulf of Naples. The nat­ur­al cli­mate pro­tects the roots of plants that do not usu­al­ly grow in oth­er regions of Italy. In 1946, Lady Wal­ton engaged British land­scape design­er Rus­sell Page, who cre­at­ed gar­dens with over 800 rare plants from all over the world. But it’s more than just a botan­i­cal gar­den — la Mortel­la is a peace­ful oasis ded­i­cat­ed to art and music. Among the new addi­tions is the Greek The­atre, which hosts sym­pho­ny orches­tras in a lush trop­i­cal envi­ron­ment.

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Isola Bella and Isola Madre, Lake Maggiore

Every inch of Iso­la Bel­la around the grandiose palace of Count Vital­iano Bor­romeo is cov­ered with a mag­nif­i­cent gar­den that can be called the epit­o­me of all Ital­ian gar­dens. In order to cre­ate more space on the rel­a­tive­ly small island of Lake Mag­giore, a series of 10 ter­races up to 32 meters high was cre­at­ed, reached by wide stone stairs. The ter­races are com­plete­ly plant­ed with col­or­ful flower beds, tall cedars, rows of lemon and orange trees, camel­lias, mag­no­lias, ole­an­ders and oth­er plants, along with numer­ous stat­ues. From every cor­ner of the gar­den you can admire beau­ti­ful views of the lake and moun­tains. The palace and gar­den are open to vis­i­tors and still belong to the Bor­romeo fam­i­ly.

For a more tran­quil gar­den expe­ri­ence, board a boat at Iso­la Madre, home to a mod­est Eng­lish-style vil­la. Its beau­ti­ful green park with exten­sive lawns and tall trees cov­ers every­thing around with a sav­ing shad­ow. The atmos­phere in this park is calm and peace­ful. These places are espe­cial­ly beau­ti­ful in ear­ly sum­mer, with aza­leas, rhodo­den­drons and camel­lias in bloom.

Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio

Built high above the city and sur­round­ed on three sides by Lake Como, Vil­la Ser­bel­loni pro­vid­ed the per­fect back­drop for the gar­dens. 19th-cen­tu­ry Ital­ian-style land­scap­ing takes advan­tage of every cor­ner to enhance the beau­ty of the lake and moun­tain views. Vil­la Ser­bel­loni is famous for its rose gar­dens, which can be vis­it­ed on spe­cial tours. You can book a tour at the Pro­mo­Bel­la­gio office in Piaz­za San Gia­co­mo. While in the coun­try­side, take a walk along the shore of the lake through the well-kept gar­dens of Melzi d’Er­il. Designed in the ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry, the gar­dens attract tourists with their Moor­ish-style pavil­ion and water gar­den.