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Magazine

Must-See Gardens of Northern Italy

Discover the immense beauty of the gardens in Northern Italy, through labyrinths, villas and botanical gardens.

02 September 2022

In Italy, beauty is around every corner! Wherever you are, around the city walls, hidden within the hearts of the historic centres or up 2000 meters to the mountains, overlooking the sea or through the soft hills in the North of Italy, you will find extraordinary parks to experience. The botanical gardens for the ones passionate of the flora, fairy-like villas, gardens for romantic walks, forests and enigmatic labyrinths offer chances to explore majestic places, diverse areas and exotic species.

1. The Masone Labirinth | Emilia Romagna

A magical maze to lose oneself for a day in the open air

The Masone Labyrinth extending itself for over eight hectares with a tangled path of three kilometres of hedges, of over 20 different species of bamboo, is the largest maze in the world. The ideal place for an all-round experience, offering visitors a chance for an overnight stay in luxurious suites and a unique culinary experience at the stared Massimo Spigaroli restaurant. Throughout the year, this magical structure is open for events and hosts modern and contemporary art exhibitions. Let yourself be inspired by the architectural intrigues of the park and immerse in a truly unique place. 

2. Parco del Castello di Miramare | Friuli Venezia Giulia

For a day immersed in nature, culture and history.

Overlooking the sea and surrounded by a wide garden, the Miramare Castle is ideal for a romantic day. The majestic residence dating back to the mid-1800s is characterized by twenty-two hectares of garden, opening up to grassy areas, lakes, paths, peculiar sculptures, greenhouses and gazebos, where you can breathe a relaxing atmosphere. The garden is part of a wider area consisting of the Miramare Castle, the Castle stables and historic areas, which are open to the public all year round, with exhibitions and for taking part in events. The bookshop and cafeteria are additions to complete the experience.

3. Villa della Pergola | Liguria

The botanical splendour of the Riviera Ligure

Overlooking the sea, Villa Della Pergola is immersed in 22.000 m2 of gardens, where to lose oneself in the Mediterranean flora and the numerous evergreen exotic plants. The garden houses the largest collection of Agapanthus in Europe, with over 30 varieties of Wisteria, making these grounds enchantingly romantic. The garden is a journey through the senses, with the scents, colours and sounds of nature. A small museum to illustrate the story of the grounds is located in the Villa, which the writer and painter Carlo Levi collaborated with by portraying Alassio in some of his pieces. Educational events and workshops are organized to explore the secrets of the Mediterranean vegetation and the exotic flora. 

4. Isola del Garda | Lombardy

A city break in an enchanted park of a fairy-like Villa. 

Do you recall the palace of the Queen of Hearts in the novel 'Alice in Wonderland'? It is right around the corner! Garda Island is the perfect city getaway to spend a Sunday in nature, safely exploring a little heaven on earth! The Garda Island presents a fairytale experience, in a magical place dominated by a princely Villa from the early 1900s, surrounded by a collection of rare plants and intricately shaped hedges. Lemon, pomegranates, olive, jujubes, figs and persimmon trees, frame the scene of this captivating place. Conclude the fairytale in the evocative wilderness of the newly opened secret garden.

5. The Palace of Venaria | Piedimont

A blend of art, nature, culture and good food

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Venaria Reale is a place of inspiration rather than just a garden! The perfect choice for those who love art, culture, nature and good food. Blending the old with the new, the archaeological remains of the Palace are in contrast with the exceptional contemporary artworks. Whether you love art, the variety of exhibitions which Venaria Reale hosts every year is inspiring. The Alfredo Russo restaurant, with 1 Michelin star offers gastronomic excellence, while the two cafeterias immersed in the park are perfect areas for a pit stop. The bookshop dedicated to the Palace is highly recommended to find cultural and recreational material. To improve the experience, the "MuseOn" app can be downloaded as an official guide or the digital tour of the Palace on Google Arts&Culture. The Palace is highly accessible and recommended for families and your 4-legged friend.

6. Arboreto di Arco | Trentino

Arboreto di Arco - Arco, Trentino. Photo by: Costantino Bonomi

The perfect greenery experience for all ages.

The Arboretum Arco is a botanical garden characterized by miniature recreations of ideal environments and habitats for subtropical and Asian flora. An evergreen forest, ponds with turtles and goldfish, an oasis set in tropical conditions, a Mediterranean setting with Portuguese pomegranates and cherry trees are the different landscapes found in the park. The garden is ideal for families who love greenery: admission is free while a picnic area is available.

7. Giardino dei Signori | South Tyrol

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A place of relaxation with aphrodisiac properties.

The Giardino dei Signori is a rich and charming botanical garden, where it is possible to breathe a relaxing moment while exploring the different varieties of plants. Ornamental, medicinal and aromatic herbs, vegetables and aphrodisiac herbs are the settings of this hidden gem, the perfect place for a romantic and relaxing stroll to get away from city life. 

8. Botanical Garden Chanousia | Aosta Valley

A unique experience between the snowy mountains.

The Piccolo San Bernardo Hospice, located at 2170 meters above sea level, set in the heart of the Alps, residences the oldest botanical garden in Europe, the Alpine Botanical Garden Chanousia established in 1880. Nine areas compose the Alpine setting, between limestone rock gardens, silica moraines and natural Alpine meadows. The peat bogs with adjoining riverbanks and wetlands make this place ideal for long trails in the crisp mountain air. The ideal destination for those who love the high altitude and openness of nature, Chanousia Garden offers a diverse beauty of the surrounding landscape to be explored. 

9. Borges Labyrinth | Veneto

Labirinto di Borges - Venezia

An outdoor trail through spirituality and nature in the heart of Venice.

The Venetian Borges Labyrinth is homage to its city and Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The maze garden is composed of 3,250 plants that depict Borges name, with a single exit route, intending to take you into a personal inner journey. Along the way, objects to represent symbols dear to the writer are displayed, such as an hourglass, mirrors, a tiger, walking stick, sand and a large question mark. The garden maze, which can be followed by the visually impaired, is ideal for a romantic walk in total safety, for a 'metaphysical' journey and an immersion in the spirituality of nature and culture. In collaboration with Garden Route, a guide of the must-see gardens from North to South, offering ideas and tips for outdoor itineraries and trails in total safety.