Paradise in a Garden

Our tours in May/June this year showed us some of Italy’s most splendid gardens, ranging from the Renaissance splendour of Villa Lante to the exotic Argentinian abandon of La Mortella. We were absolutely delighted to have Christchurch-based landscape architect Robert Watson with us. As predicted, he was passionate and knowledgeable about the gardens as well as being extremely good company.

An early stop was the magnificent Summer Palace of the Popes at Castel Gandolfo near Frascati with its manicured hillside gardens, terraces and parkland stretching over 55 hectares. There was no sign of the present Pope but we were reliably informed by a local restaurant that he did pop in from time to time to pick up a take-away meal.

Note to readers – judging by the meal we had there, this would be a far cry from what Kiwis think of when they hear the words “take-away.”

The famous 16th Century garden at Villa d’Este in Tivoli did not disappoint despite the showery conditions which somehow added to the experience of seeing the fabulous fountains and water cascades.</