Destination: Italian Gardens

Discover Italy blooming this spring...

This article appears on The Telegraph.

Italy in bloom: The best gardens to visit in spring

After the dankest, dreariest, wettest winter for decades, what could better refresh our dejected spirits than a Mediterranean spring? This is the season when the hillsides are ablaze with golden broom and rock-roses; alliums and poppies nod in the meadows; orchid and asphodel bloom carelessly by the side of the road; and the Judas trees are hung with heavy pink blossom.

While it is hard to turn your back on Italy’s galleries and museums, a visit to some of the country’s great gardens will prove every bit as rich in historical and cultural interest, with the added delight of feeling the sun on your face, filling your lungs with the scent of wisteria (it never smells like that here – but then it never flowers so extravagantly in Britain) and drinking in view after stupendous view – for the Italians are the masters of siting their gardens to make the best of the panorama.

Forsake the crowds in Florence and take to the hills, so generously dotted with enchanting gardens. Most can be visited privately, which means you can have them pretty much to yourself. The tourist office is used to garden-loving Brits, and will furnish you with maps and bus routes, including directions to several gardens made by leisured expats in the early 20th century, all narrow terraces clinging precariously to the hillsides, with sheets of Banksian roses tumbling down the walls, phalanxes of jewel-coloured iris and pergolas dripping with wisteria. Read more on The Telegraph…

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