Inspiration for Urban Gardening from Venice

From the garden of a Venetian countess: What does a Venetian giardino pensile – a hanging garden look like ?

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This garden is located in the San Basilio area ear San Nicolò dei Tolentini. On our way we could touch the dripping blossoms of wisteria (it was raining) and marvel at other trees with purple blossoms, making Venice look decidedly elegant for spring.

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We arrived in a little campo located just behind the Canale della Giudecca. From here, you can see Mulino Stucky on the opposite bank, now the Venice Hilton Hotel.

Tudy Sammartini, our hostess came out of the house to greet us. Her name may be familiar to you for she’s a well-known garden architect and book author. Her latest book is called Verde Venezia – Green Venice and she also writes a blog in Italian at storieveneziane.wordpress.com.

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Hers is actually a house WITHOUT a garden and no balcony. You would never even notice that because the house looks so lush wrapped in buds and blossoms !! In the pictures you can see the proof how she took up the tradition of Venetian hanging gardens, wrapping not just her own house but also others in the neighborhood in green foliage. Such a verdant space created with a purpose.

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Her plants are strictly Mediterranean species loving salinity and the humid air permeating the Lagoon. There were lemon blossoms just opening, nasturtium, sage, basil and other kitchen herbs and even little strawberries growing in terracotta pots! These herbs are protected by climbers like clematis and honeysuckle.

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Our hostess who had just come home buying asparagus and vegetables showed us her home and library filled with shelves of books and garden magazines, arranged around portraits and photo collections of her family.

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We took the opportunity and asked a few questions about the purpose of gardens in Venice and whether there’s a future for our green spaces in town.

Ms. Sammartini stressed the importance of gardens as indispensable link between the stones of Venice and the sea. Who could live without them, what would Venice look like without them?

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As long as they are taken care of by their owners, gardens will continue to exist as long as Venice does. Public gardens often suffer from lack of time and care. ALL gardens in town fulfill a special purpose thanks to the careful selection of endemic plants able to purify the air.

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I would like to thank Giuseppe Boscaro – The Liquid Press and Anna Toniolo for organizing the #giardinveneziani tours. Find out more about The Liquid Press here.

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