Two Italian Gardens.....

The Villa Lante di Bagnaia

This garden is considered to be Italy's most prestigious monument to late-Renaissance art, and is attributed to the architect Vignola, who built the garden for Cardinal Gambara during the mid to late 1500's. The design is centered on a single axis with water as the main theme, amd with the architectural structures ( two palazzinas) subordinate to the garden. There is a beautiful transition from the woods and nature at the highest level to the extreme geometry of the lower terrace or parterre. Changes occurred over the centuries, with Duke Ippolito Lante obtaining ownership in 1656, thereby adding the more elegant patterns according to the style of the French designer, La Notre. In 1971 the garden was acquired by the Italian Government. These pictures were taken on a visit in September of 1999.

The lower parterre with Quadrato and the Fountain of the Moors

A feature of Italian gardens is the lack of flowers and the dominant 'chiaroscuro' effects created by sculpted trees and shrubbery. The pines and cypress from the adjacent, less formal hunting park add a contrasting backdrop.

One of two matching 'Palazzinas'

The Cardinal's Table

The Fountain of the Giants

The Villa Medici di Petraia

This castle, dating back to 1364, was converted to a palatial villa for Cardinal Ferdinando de'Medici in 1575. It sits high on a hill overlooking Florence and the Arno valley, and is a classic example of Italian Renaissance design. I visited it in September during a month-long stay in Tuscany.

The villa from the lower terrace

The villa from the sunny, Southern side terrace

A depiction of the original garden design

The central staircase leading up to the villa from the lower terraces, with reflecting pool on the right side

A view from under the steps leading up to the top terrace

The lower terraces of boxwood and herbs are enclosed by a long curving hedge, and framed by a double row of plane trees....with views out to the Arno valley below

Have a closer look at other gardens and places in and around Florence , including the Villa Medici di Castello, which is within walking distance of Petraia

Find out more about how Italians used WATER in their gardens!

Discover how you can use a simple WALL FOUNTAIN to enhance your garden!

Examine the historic wall fountains of the FLORENTINE SCULPTORS