The gardens of Italy rank amongst the great treasures of the world. They have influenced and inspired almost every landscape designer and architect since the Renaissance yet they are not isolated historical artifacts. A garden is always a living, evolving entity that tells a thousand stories about the people that made it as well as the plants that occupy it. Above all, great gardens become a celebration of man’s creative need to work with nature. This book is a personal exploration of Italy’s legendary gardens. Over thirty are featured, including some that are very well known as well as others that might not be on many people’s obvious list. Few people have travelled more widely and have a more passionately practical engagement with gardening than Monty Don. Through captivating text and outstanding photography, Monty and Derry invite the reader to accompany them on their tour around Italy. Their underlying message is that to appreciate a garden fully you must also know something of the food grown and eaten in the area, of the politics, religion and weather of the region, and of the dreams for the garden’s future as well as the glories of its past. Each garden is placed in the context of its surrounding landscape and the lives of those who made it and who tend it today. Far more than an inventory of interesting plants or classical designs, this book leads the reader through a truly stunning odyssey of the breadth and magnificence of Italian gardens, always engaging, occasionally provocative and utterly mesmerising.
18th March 2010
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