Palazzo Cappello Malipiero Barnabò garden Venice Palazzo Cappello Malipiero Barnabò garden Venice Courtesy of Gabriele Kostas

The best gardens in Italy

Our favourite gardens in Florence, Venice and Rome.

For centuries Italy's gardens have influenced horticulturalists all over the world and a visit to at least one of these green oases should not be missed. At LUXOS HQ in Milan we're quite a green-fingered bunch and so here are our recommendations for the best gardens and parks in Florence, Venice and Rome.

Florence

We had a hard time picking just one special garden in Florence because there are just so many. Though the Villa Medicea di Castello itself is closed to public, visiting its park alone is worth the trip north of Florence’s historic centre. The expansive garden, designed in 1538 to reflect Cosimo I’s rise to power, is dotted with statues, fountains, stunning mosaics and grottoes. Lush citrus trees and herbs in the meticulously landscaped grounds take you back in time to one of Florence’s most glorious moments in history.

Villa Medicea di CastelloVilla Medicea di Castello, Florence (source: Hen Magonza)

About one kilometre away is another stately building, the Villa della Petraia. The view from this spot is simply breathtaking. Its garden exudes late-16th century Medici style, with interesting additions like the fountain of Fiorenza and a romantic English garden built between the 18th and 19th centuries. Take a seat in a shady spot and enjoy the perfume of lavender, sage, rosemary, hydrangea and iris in the air...

Villa Petraia FlorenceVilla Petraia, Florence (photo: dropsofruby)

Rome

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” So the saying goes, but how many visitors actually do this during a hurried visit of the Italian capital? 

The Giardino degli Aranci, also known as Parco Savello, offers the perfect spot for a bit of relaxation, with its sweeping views across Rome’s rooftops, to St Peter’s Basilica, Il Vittoriano and beyond. The unique location atop Aventurine Hill makes it one of the locals’ favourite places to hang out. Visit the nearby monastery which belonged to the Knights of Malta, where on the front door you will find one of the most famous keyholes in the world, perfectly framing the dome of St. Peter’s.

Giardino degli Aranci (photo: Cindy Willis)Giardino degli Aranci (photo: Cindy Willis)

Venice

It may come as a surprise to learn that Venice has over 500 gardens, making it one of the ‘greenest’ cities in northern Italy. Most of these gardens are hidden from public view. A Venetian garden, often hidden behind the palace where it is located, is long rather than wide. Historically, it used to be where Venetians grew fruit, vegetables and maintained livestock, thus an important part of everyday life for survival on the archipelago.

Venice (photo: Gabriele Kostas)Venice (photo: Gabriele Kostas)

Today, you can get to know Venice from a differnt angle by exploring these little green havens. Mariagrazia Dammicco, President of the Wigwam Club ‘Venice Historical Gardens’ and author of ‘A Guide to the Gardens of Venice,’ can take you on one of her unique tours. You will venture beyond the façades of aristocratic palaces and ancient monasteries, and gain valuable insights into Venice’s past and present. A must for lovers of the Serenissima.

Mariagrazia Dammicco: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

1 Giardino degli Aranci
2 Villa Medicea di Castello
3 Villa della Petraia