Italian style gardens

History of Italian gardens

The Italian gardens derive from medieval gardens conceived exclusively as spaces for cultivating fruit plants and medicinal herbs. Instead in the fifteenth century these places are radically transformed becoming a sort of extension of the house to be used for the moments of leisure of the rich aristocratic families. The first garden in chronological order created with this style is that of Palazzo Pitti in Florence: the Boboli Gardens. It was Niccolò Tribolo who designed it but other artists followed one another to create the works that it still contains today such as the Grotta del Buontalenti. The succession of geometric lines as well as the order are a leitmotif found in all green spaces of this type. They have a formal aspect and contemplate the presence of an area dedicated to relaxation.

The characteristic vegetation

Hedges and shrubs are the plants always present in Italian gardens. They are evenly distributed throughout the available space or are used to divide the garden into symmetrical areas and to create interesting frames. The trees are few and almost always are not planted on the ground but are found in large earthenware basins located above large pedestals. Topiary art is an integral part of this style and is used to create intricate labyrinths, tunnels or obligatory paths to be made between box hedges. Almost always there are also pergolas and vines suitable for covering structures created for the purpose. The turf consists of the classic English lawn interspersed with multicolored gravel paths.

The waterways and fountains

The Italian gardens would not be so interesting if they were not crossed by waterways characterized by jets and original decorations. Rectangular stone pools are always present while oval pools are rarer. There is no shortage of statues from which gushes gush out creating ever-changing water games. One of the most spectacular examples that can still be admired today is the one in the garden of the Royal Palace of Caserta. A succession of huge tanks that creates an incredible scenographic effect. They were once inhabited by different species of fish but now they have remained to witness an era of splendor. In other gardens built in the sixteenth century some fountains are no longer active and would need to be restored to return to function.

Italian style gardens: How to create an Italian garden

Some precautions are needed to transform the green space adjacent to your home into an Italian garden. Get boxwood and using the best known techniques of topiary art, shape it to form hedges with unusual or classic shapes. Get some Hellenistic-inspired statues and place them in semi-hidden places to recreate a pleasant surprise effect. To make your garden more interesting, do not forget to provide for the installation of a large fountain or a rectangular tank that has a regular water change guaranteed by special pumps equipped with a filter. You can also add exotic aquatic plants to the same. Also make some flower beds using annual flowers to change as soon as they begin to wither.

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