Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

Main Page This family-friendly site celebrates Italian culture for the enjoyment of children and adults. Site-Overview

Italophile Book Reviews     News-Blog     YouTube Channel     Italy Posters     Italian Xmas Cards     Italophile Books   PrintFection Tees


House and Garden

Home Decor

Murals, Stencils, Tiles

Palaces of Sicily

Modern Italian Design

Decor with Prints

Tile Splash-backs

Stencil Decor

Italianate Furniture

Low Cost Decor

Graphic Artists

Panoramic Images

Murano Glass



Villa / Garden Prints

Framed Prints

Art, Sculpture...

Eduardo De la Maria

Riccardo Bianchi



Garden Inspirations

Balcony Gardens


Language of Flowers



Theatre, Music, Cinema


Commedia dell'Arte

Theatre in 1860s

Tomaso Salvini

Adelaide Ristori

Cecilia Bartoli

Italian Music



Domenico Modugno

Opera Singers: Caruso, Tetrazzini, Gigli, Patti

Caruso in SF Quake

Eurovision / San Remo Song Festivals


Recent Films

Terence Hill

Francesco Nuti

Anthony LaPaglia

Italian Humor and Toto



Hyphenated Italians

Hyphenated Italians

London's Italians and Barometers

Mulberry Bend, NYC

Old New York

Roaming the World, G. P.

Brazil / Argentina, by R. B.

John, Italian Emigrant, by D. H. Lawrence

Joe Petrosino, NYC Pioneer Policeman

East Haven, Conn, J. M.

Rivesville, West Virginia, R.T.

Tomaso Salvini

Adelaide Ristori

Caruso, Tetrazzini, Patti

Caruso in SF Quake

Giovanni Boldini



Books Set in Italy by Genre


Mysteries in Ancient Rome

Historical Novels

Thriller / Drama

Children's Books

Romance Novels


Audio Books in Italian

Dual-Language Short Stories

Bestselling Italian



Italophile Articles and Books

Italians as Europeans

Political Humor

Altan and Cipputi

Italian Literature

Marco Polo's Travels

Petrarch and his Love Sonnets

A Sicilian Romance

Illuminated Manuscripts

The Brownings

Divine Comedy



Marcus Aurelius

Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook


Sicilian Romance

Pompeii Revisited

Linda Proud

Bianca by W. E. Norris

Wallace Breem

Room with a View

Enchanted April



Free PDF Books

Enchanted April

Room with a View

Medieval Cookbooks

Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook

Plutarch's Lives

Agatha Christie's First Poirot Story

Short Classic Mystery Stories

Stage Stars

Ancient Rome

A Sicilian Romance

Italian Renaissance

Stage Actor's Lives




Guestbook and Contact

Old Guestbook

New Guestbook



Candida's Italophile Links

Italophile Shop

Italian News Weblog

YouTube Channel for Italophiles

Italy Posters

Zazzle Italian Art Xmas Cards

Italophile Books Site/Shop

Italophile Book Reviews

PrintFection Tees and Bags


  Viva Italia
Viva Italia Masterprint


Click on a slideshow image to visit that page  


The Italian Garden

This article is about Italy's unique contribution to garden design:  the Classical Italian Garden, also called the Renaissance Garden.  

Discussing Italian gardens, it is important to point out that most people in Italy live in condominium apartments and have no garden.  

Those who live in villas (free standing houses) in the countryside, or on hills near towns, do generally have a garden.  But the gardens can be used to grow vegetables, or be ornamental, or both.

Public gardens are often former private estates of the extremely wealthy (usually former royalty).  They can include formal gardens and large green areas used in the past for exercise on horseback, or for hunting.  


The Renaissance Garden

A Renaissance Garden is a place for retreat from a hectic world.  It's for pleasure and peace.  It's for wandering, pottering and contemplating.

Any practical elements such as vegetables, fruit and herbs are woven into the garden design so they appear ornamental.


Outlining with Evergreens

The most recognizable elements of the Classical Italian Garden are the evergreen-outlined beds.  

Box (buxus) hedge, myrtle, rosemary, and other evergreen plants are trimmed into a hedge shape to divide the beds.

More importantly, however, the hedges provide shape and green even in the garden's fallow months because the Renaissance Garden is meant for year-round pleasure.



Topiary and Statuary

Topiary, evergreen plants shaped, trimmed and pruned into amusing shapes, are used to add humor and playfulness to the garden.

Some say this is really a Medieval custom that just stayed on during the Renaissance.  But you'll see more topiary than statuary in Classical Italian Gardens.

Statuary, when it is used, is normally a central feature in a fountain or grotto.  It is never vulgar or offensive, but humorous or graceful.


Fruit Trees

Renaissance Garden fruit trees are clipped and well-tended.  Some are planted in pots, others are planted in open ground, most often against walls.

Citrus fruit plants are often potted up so they can be set outdoors during warm months, and moved indoors during winter months.  

Other fruit trees are usually trained as arches or over pergolas, when they're not formed as an esplanade against a South-facing wall, for early ripening of the fruit.


Arches and Pathways

Evergreens often line pathways, and it's not always box hedging.  Laurel, Yew, Cypresses, Fir, Oaks, Plum, and Juniper trees are used to create green walls, arches and living pergolas.  

Footpaths are designed to offer varied walks with varied views through the garden.  They are also used for exercise, often taking the long way around.

Paths can be grass paths, mown down regularly, or dirt paths weeded regularly.  But the easiest paths to maintain are paved or gravel-covered (an anti-weed tarp under the gravel can cut maintenance to almost nothing). 


Trellises and Climbing Plants

Trellises are used to divide "rooms" and line paths in the garden.  They are trained with climbing plants like ivy, roses, honeysuckle, or grape vines.

The climbing plants are also trained over structures such as pergolas, porticos and pavilions.  Flowering climbers are preferred.



The ideal Renaissance Garden is terraced on a gently sloping hillside.  The various levels are joined up by paths and short flights of steps.

Terraces are used mainly to divide the garden into "rooms" with varying "moods", and to limit the views and vistas.  A connecting terrace should come as a surprise when climbing up the garden.

Looking down from the villa, however, the terraces should create a tableau of pleasing vistas, artistically sculpted views.  


Potted Plants

Terra-cotta pots, often covered with figures and designs, are common decorative features in Renaissance Gardens.

Flowers, fruit trees and herbs can be potted up and moved around the garden for variety and added color.  They are almost always displayed in balanced symmetry, so buy your pots in twos.



(This article continues on my Garden page)



About this Site

This is a hobby-site.  Any money made from links and ads provide funds to cover my computer, Internet, and website hosting and domain name costs.  Anything left over, I spend on pasta!  ;-)   Grazie mille!

Candida Martinelli

Established July 2003


Food, Drink, Recipes

Italian Food

Culinaria Italy

Sicilian Food



Olives and Oil

Medieval Italian Cookbooks

Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook

Eat Less / Feel Full

Cookbooks to Buy

Quince - Mele Cotogne

Coffee, Chocolate

Eat Less, Feel Full

Italian Wine

Italian Liqueurs

Vov Recipe

Coffee Liqueur Recipe

Grappa (LaPaglia)



Chestnut Desserts

Sweets and Recipes

Zabaione, A Saint's Recipe Men Love



Cream Desserts

Salame Dolce - A Chocolate Candy

Panettone, Amaretti

Italian Rice Desserts



Towns and Touring

Alinari Photography

Photo / Virtual Tours

Aerial Italian Images

Photo Galleries

Milan - Milano

Pompeii - Vesuvius

Palaces of Sicily


Ricordo di Venezia Postcard Book


De' Medici Family

Borbottoni's Old Florence Scenes

Bianchi Gallery

Florence Art

Florentia Paper

Edith Wharton's Della Robbia Terracottas

The Brownings

Living/Working in Italy

Residence Clubs

Italian Language


Italian Media Today

Travel in Italy - Links to Online City Guides


Dating and Mating


Marco Polo

Carnival - Carnevale

Carnival Costumes

Venice Art

Venice in 1860s

Murano Glass

Free Venice Art


Rome Art

Living in Ancient Rome

Fun Latin Phrases

Mysteries in Ancient Rome

Roman Costumes



Italian Culture for Children


Sliding-Art Puzzles

Strega Nona

Italy Coloring Pages

Italian Artist Bios

Renaissance Paper Dolls

Child's Menu Page

Cow Game

Goose Game Free Game Board

Cards - Tarot Cards

Card / Board Games




Goose Game

Calcio - Football

Ziginette - Zecchinetta


Strega Nona

Children's Books, CDs, Games, Treats

Free Italian Children's Stories On-line

Emilio Salgari's Adventures

Italian Artist Bios for Children



Holiday Fun and Gifts

Italian Xmas Cards

The Nativity

La Befana

Angels in Italian Art

Catholic Prayers in Italian / English

Italophile Gift Ideas

Luxury Gift Ideas

10 Recipes for the Holidays

Easter Story

Christmas Story in Italian and English


Carnival (Halloween and Commedia) Costumes

Religious Art - Marquetry



History Comes Alive

De' Medici Family

Life in Ancient Rome

Natural History of Italy


Ancient History

The Middle Ages

The Renaissance

The Age of Discovery

Age of Colonialism, Capitalism, Reason, Industrial Revolution

Italian Unification

Fascism and The World Wars

Post War Growth and European Integration

Marco Polo

Amerigo Vespucci

Living in Ancient Rome




Lessons: How to get E-texts and E-books from the Internet, including source list for free electronic books

A non-Italy article by Candida: A book that helped keep WWII soldiers sane and humane

A non-Italy offer:  Nerja, Spain Beachfront Apartment to Rent


Amazon Logo


Please visit Candida Martinelli's Writing Website and the first book in her Young-Adult Historical Mystery Series