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Italian Renaissance gardens in Europe reflect the splendor of the Classical Era. Renaissance Gardens from Italy to Europe. Maybe a big holiday or study project. Maybe a day trip. Like visiting any historic location, either alone, with a companion or as part of an organized group, a minimum of preparation is essential. I thought they were a perfect example of the importance of planning, reading the small print, asking advice and knowing how to be discerning in choosing a destination or a travel theme.
So what, I wondered, could have helped my hypothetical Bertie and Bird, casual visitors to Italy, leave Tivoli with something besides discomfort, ill-humor and frustration?
But what does that mean to the casual visitor? Renaissance , Rebirth. From what? You should take the first opportunity to leave the din, the futile bustle and useless occupations of the city and devote yourself to literature or to leisure. A garden was a place to think, relax, and escape. Pliny described shaded paths bordered with hedges, fountains, trees and bushes trimmed to geometric or fantastic shapes, all features which would become part of the future Renaissance garden.
Back to our question on reawakening. Beginning in the Middle East, Christianity began its spread north and west into Europe, carried by merchants, missionaries and soldiers. As a result, in , the Edict of Milan was passed guaranteeing freedom of religion throughout the Roman Empire, ending the persecution of Christians. In Europe, during the Medieval times the only recognized religion was Catholicism.
The lives of the Medieval people was dominated by the church. Various religious institutions became rich and powerful. Medieval gardens were walled and private. They reflected both the austerity of some orders like the Franciscans and the pomp of others such as the Jesuits. Their purpose was the provision of foods and herbs for the community and, even more importantly, a place of silent meditation and a retreat from the outside world.
Gardens were designed to open towards the surrounding town, the palace and the view. First created in the gardens of Florentine and Roman villas near the end of the 15th century, Italian Renaissance gardens were designed as part of the classical aesthetic of ancient Roma that emphasized order, harmony and beauty.How did the Renaissance influence the gardens of Italy? The middle of the 16th century saw the construction of a series of magnificent gardens by the Medici and other wealthy families.
The Medici Villas took Tuscany by storm. They were no longer fortified castles and the gardens contained splendid walkways, fountains, alcoves, grottoes and statues designed to give the impression of symmetry, balance and proportion, expressions of a new intellectual power. They were usually sited on a hilltop or slopes of a mountain; had a series of ascending symmetrical terraces, along a central axis; the house looked over the garden and the landscape beyond, and it could itself be seen from the bottom of the garden.
Water provided not only irrigation but movement and sound, all pointing back to the magnificence of the Roman Empire. Developments in hydrology meant that the gardens were equipped with increasingly elaborate and majestic cascades and fountains, and statues which recalled the grandeur of ancient Rome. Unlike other Medici family villas that were located on flat farmland, this villa was located on a rocky hillside with a view over Florence.
The garden has two large terraces, one at the ground floor level and the other at the level of the first floor. From the reception rooms on the first floor, guests could go out to the loggia and from there to the garden so the loggia was a transition space connecting the interior with the exterior. In the late Renaissance, people contended to have larger, grander and more symmetrical gardens, filled with fountains, statues, grottoes, water organs and other features.
Flowers were not central to the attraction of the gardens. It was more about art controlling nature, perspective and space.Tuscany itself provides many examples of splendid gardens, all competing to be the masterpiece, enough even for the most ardent scholar of the topic and more than enough for our Berties and Birds who want to get value for money by ticking off as many of their holiday to-do boxes as possible.
When the last of the Medici died in , the gardens began to be altered by their new owners; but, long before then, they had been described by many who had visited and had become famous throughout Europe. He was made a Cardinal at the age of 29 and became governor of Tivoli inTo develop his residence and garden, he took over a former Franciscan convent, and bought the adjoining steep hillside and the valley below. His chosen architect, Pirro Ligorio, had been carrying out excavations for Ippolito at the nearby ruins of the ancient Villa Adriana, the extensive country residence of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and relished this exciting new garden assignment.
And he created it along Classical lines: a series of terraces descending the steep hillside at the edge of the mountains overlooking the plain of Latium or Lazio, the terraces are connected by gates and grand stairways leading down to the Fountain of Dragons at the foot of the garden.
Alleys on different levels, rooms divided by hedges and trellises covered with vines, fruit trees, and aromatic plants.
The Fountain of the Owl uses a series of bronze flutes to make the sound of birds but the most famous feature of the garden was the great Organ Fountain. Other water, passing through a wheel, strikes in a certain order the keyboard.
The organ also imitates the sound of trumpets, the sound of cannon, and the sound of muskets, made by the sudden fall of water. However, the basic features remain and the recently restored Organ Fountain plays music once again. The Italian garden fashion soon spread to neighboring countries.So where would we send our now better equipped travelers, Bertie and Bird, to give them an idea of how each area used and adapted their gardens based on the abundance or lack of reserves such as water, natural inclines, sunshine and wealth?
About years after the Italian Renaissance Garden became popular, the design style started to appear in France in the 16th century when the French King Francis visited Italy and met with Leonardo DaVinci, and applied the Renaissance style to Chateau de Blois. The grandeur of Italian gardens spread to the chateaux of the rich and powerful, culminating in the majestic gardens of the Palace of Versailles. The late 16th century Italian garden was much admired as an aesthetic ideal and imitated in northern Europe.
Gradually, the epicenter of garden artistic activity gravitated to the North where new aesthetic concepts were added. Flowerbed ensembles called parterres de broderie laid the groundwork for the supremacy of the French garden style under Louis XIV, culminating in the splendor of Versailles —90 The basic elements consisted of a strongly unified composition, carefully balanced and proportioned for optimal visual effect. Centering on the palace as the dominating axis, a broad vista over the whole layout was offered, showing a hierarchical arrangement of parterres and waterworks within a grid plan, strictly lined by hedges and bosquets.
Similar to the Italian Renaissance gardens, statuary and grottoes were also key features in their French counterparts. Another similarity is that the gardens were designed as extensions of the chateaux that they surrounded.
A big difference between stately homes in France and Italy during this period is that the French palaces were mostly built on flat river valleys, unlike the hillside villas more common in Italy. The gardens were designed to be viewed from a man-made elevated terrace looking down over the garden. A difference in attitudes towards nature is also noted.Entire forests were felled to create these gardens, with a tendency to seek a connection with the sky on the horizon rather than with the surrounding landscape.
The most common and defining feature for French Renaissance gardens is the parterre , a section of a garden organized into symmetrically patterned flower beds, bordered with tidily trimmed hedges or stone. These would include gravel paths separating each individual bed allowing for closer enjoyment of the plantings although the grand patterns were better viewed from above, making the view from the building and its terraces more important to the success of the design.
These parterres would be more elaborately patterned closer to the house, and less detailed in the distance. Although water was a common feature in Italian Renaissance gardens, the French style would typically feature still bodies of water that created reflecting pools, rather than the kinetic nature of waterfalls and downhill streams seen in Italy. Parterres and waterways continued to dominate this new French garden style and became important features of the French Formal Garden style as exemplified in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.
To sum up, the main difference between Italian and French Renaissance gardens is the emphasis on perspective and space and a greater control over nature. Back to travel practicalities. I was astonished to see a travel website I recently visited advertising French Renaissance garden-hopping holidays proposing 16 gardens in 10 days. As I said earlier, always read the small print and know your own tastes and limits. To reflect on the development of Renaissance influenced gardens in England, we must keep in mind the opulence of the already existing medieval and Tudor gardens.
The new did not brush off the old, rather they comingled. Viewing mounts or man-made hills were erected, deer roamed in the parks that were an extension into the wild of the tamed garden.The best example is, perhaps, Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden.
Keniworth was constructed as a Norman fortress in about and was added to and modified over several centuries. Why mention this particular castle garden? Her suitor was very keen to impress and, in a final attempt to convince her to marry him, spared no expense on the gardens. Elizabeth viewed the partially finished results in and visited the magnificent castle again inShe brought an entourage of 31 barons and staff for the royal visit that lasted an exceptional 19 days but, alas, although impressed by the stunning gardens, she refused his marriage proposal.
Hadrian came to Britain in AD and built a wall 80 miles long from sea to sea approximately in correspondence with the present England-Scotland border, to separate the barbarians from the Romans.
It was the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire for about years. The wall was eventually reinforced by forts that were each manned by up to 1, soldiers. In AD a major war took place when the tribes crossed the wall which divided them from the Roman forts, and killed a general and the troops he had with him. For all intents and purposes it is, perhaps, the most natural of European gardens.
It reflects not only how man imposed on nature, but how they have learned to live with each other. A spin-off from the Italian Renaissance Gardens was a revolution in the study of botany through the systematic classification of plants and the creation of the first botanical gardens. During the Middle Ages, plants were studied for medicinal uses.
Until the 16th century, the standard work on botany was De Materia Medica written in the 1st century AD by a Greek physician, Pedanius Dioscorides, that described plants but lacked many of the native plants of Italy and had vague descriptions with stylized and inexact illustrations.
By , the garden at Padua had over 1, different plants and trees, including a fan palm tree brought from Egypt.Soon the medical schools of the universities of Bologna, Ferrara and Sassari all had their own botanical gardens filled with exotic plants from around the world. In , the University of Padua created the first chair of botany and published a new book on medicinal herbs, Commentarii in libros sex Pedanii Dioscoridis, which described and gave the medicinal uses of twelve hundred different plants.
Visiting botanical gardens, too, became immensely popular as a leisure activity and nowadays they can be found in most major cities. Visiting Renaissance Gardens, be it in Italy, France, England, Germany or wherever, can be a simple day-trip or a full holiday. No matter what your choice, the only questions worth asking are: What am I doing here?
What am I looking at? Why should I care about this place? It might be worthwhile to reflect that if this destination is on my tour itinerary, it must be of some interest. Italics Magazine was born from the idea of two friends who believed that Italy was lacking a complete, in-depth, across-the-board source of information in English.
The splendid architectural gardens of sixteenth-century Italy--with their lavish sculpture, fountains, and terraces--were the culmination of Renaissance garden art. In this beautiful book, Claudia Lazzaro returns the gardens to their original appearance, recreating the sights, sounds, and smells that contemporaries experienced. Using an abundance of literary and visual sources, Lazzaro establishes the conventions of planting, design, and ornamentation in well-known gardens, including Caprarola, Pratolino, and Bomarzo, and in many lesser-known ones. She goes on to discuss in detail the four best-preserved grand gardens--the Medici garden at Castello, the Boboli garden in Florence, the Villa d'Este at Tivoli, and the Villa Lante at Bagnaia.Gardens in Italy in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries reflected contemporary ideas about the interaction of art and nature. The essence of a Renaissance garden included the plants selected and their arrangement as well as ornaments of natural materials such as topiary, tree houses, grottoes, and labyrinths, which represented nature as both ordered and wild. The grand gardens were distinguished from more modest one not only by their sculpture, fountains, and terraces but also by extensive architecture, abundant water, costly exotic plants, and water-powered automata.
of gardens is a very long one, and garden design that has dated back to in the past, the Italian Renaissance Gardens were also designed to be a.
Please sign up to receive email updates about all the great things happening at the Villa and Renaissance Garden. The Villa Terrace is open and enthusiastically welcomes your visit. You do not need a reservation, but they are encouraged as museum hours may vary. Make a reservation by clicking the button below. Thank you and visit soon! Villa Terrace is a Mediterranean country house dropped into an urban setting. As a result, the house and garden contrast dramatically with neighboring structures. The home is low in profile, set back behind a walled forecourt. It is a house that points away from the street, turning inward to its courtyard, terrace and garden. It speaks of intimacy, subdued elegance and domesticity quite unlike anything else along Terrace Avenue.
I returned recently from nine days in Italy where I visited gardens between Florence and Rome. Weeks later, my head is still spinning with all I saw — and with all I learned about history, art and garden design. There is far too much to include in a single post, so I plan to write several.This one is about the Renaissance gardens, a style inspired by classical ideals of order and beauty that emerged in the late 15th century and influenced garden design throughout Europe and beyond.
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For me, this was a pilgrimage; no, stronger than that, it was the consummation of a love affair I had been conducting from a distance for nearly 40 years. The tour is jointly organised by Country Life and Boxwood Tours and scheduled for May , to coincide with the magical weeks of early Italian summer when roses bloom and nightingales sing day and night. For more information and to secure a spot, click here. I first read about the Villa Lante in the late s, in one of two books on Italian Renaissance gardens. The first, by Georgina Masson , is large and comprehensive; the second, by Sir George Sitwell , is slim and selective. Both are seminal works, notable for their affection for their subject, which shines out from every page.
We think you have liked this presentation. If you wish to download it, please recommend it to your friends in any social system. Share buttons are a little bit lower. Thank you! Published by Eunice Ross Modified over 5 years ago. Hospitals and Universities evolved from the monasteries. Gall- preserved in library at St. Gall Monastery.
When order and stability came to Europe after the middle ages, landowners sought to express their wealth through their landscapes - the result is the.
Free entry to RHS members at selected times ». General enquiries Mon — Fri 9am — 5pm. Make a donation.Indeed the movement which started in Italy in the 16th century spread through the rest of Europe and changed the way we view gardens forever.
This included accommodating antique sculptures or copies of antique figures like the copy from the original 5th century Capitoline wolf with Romulus and Remus in the Italian garden.
Gardening Landscape Plants. The remarkable story of the project undertaken by Paul Bangay and Monash University to transform a neglected car park at the university's Prato campus in Tuscany into a traditional Renassance walled garden, befitting its location. The Italian Garden is part restoration story, part vicarious travel tale and a completely facinating story of how the discovery fifty years ago of a series of neglected and hidden fifteenth century frescos led to the creation of the stunning Palazzo Vaj garden, inspired by the water features, grottos and planting symmetry of classic Italian Renaissance gardens. Order this Item. Add to Wishlist. Paul Bangay is one of Australia's pre-eminent landscape designers and gardening authorities. He is the author of nine books and was awarded the Centenary Medal General List for his contribution to Australian landscape design.
Early Italian gardens, often belonging to monasteries, were enclosed by walls, and used for growing vegetables, fruits and medicinal herbs. To our eyes, these medieval gardens can look beautiful, but their primary aim was functional. So how did Italian gardens evolve into playgrounds of the mythical gods, with winged horses landing on Mount Parnassus, giants dipping into fishponds and bronze birds fluttering over fountains?