The honest and comforting nature can melt with the inspiring and vigorous sculpture, creating an aesthetic combination that remains etched in memory. Let’s see 10 Italian and European gardens, where you can admire some realisation of this brilliant alchemy.
Sacred Wood or Park of Monsters, Umbria, Italy
Located in Bomarzo, province fo Viterbo, the Sacred Wood is a crucible of mystery and wonder. You can visit the entire 3 hectares of surface enjoying vegetation and numerous curious structures. The garden is maintained following modern arboriculture, with particular focus on respecting biodiversity.
Furthermore, mysterious basalt artworks from the 16th century inhabit this wood. They represent mythological creatures and monsters from an ancient time. When you see them, you can feel childish emotions rising, like fear and confusion. These statues hide even today many mysteries. Who knows, they may disclose their secrets to some of the visitors.
Learn more here: Sacred wood
Green accommodation: B&B Casale Hortensiae
Tarots garden, Tuscany, Italy
Thanks to the creativity of the French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, you can admire this fantasy garden. Built between 1979 and 2002 in Capalbio area, province of Grosseto, it represents a unique mix of Art, Nature and Architecture. Firstly, in this garden, you can visit 22 different structures. Specifically, they are made of cement and steel and decorated with ceramic and glass. Every one of them is inhabitable, like a usual Tuscany house. By the will of the artist, there are no guided tours. Therefore, visitors should follow their curiosity and instinct. Unfortunately, Niki died in 2002 and, in the last days of her life, she decided to not terminate some of the structures.
Learn more here: Tarots garden
Green accommodation: Bio-Fattoria Poggio Foco
Italian Botanic Garden André Heller, Lombardy
Gardone Riviera hosts not only the magnificent Vittoriale Degli Italiani, former accommodation of the Italian poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, but also the colourful and various André Heller botanic garden. The inside of the garden is full of plants and trees from all over the world. Moreover, a gentle stream of water flows through the garden, creating a peaceful and calm atmosphere.
On the other hand, the co-protagonist of this garden is Sculpture. You can find artworks from the entrance to the heart of the place. Every work has a different inspiration and style, referring to numerous cultures. André Heller, the owner, is so in love with art and sculpture, that he committed even bridges and boardwalks to some artists. For instance, he made himself the “protector of the garden”, and anthropomorphic statue in the centre of this artistic and natural paradise.
Learn more: Giardino botanico André Heller
Green accommodation: La Piccola Gardenia
Boboli Gardens, Tuscany, Italy
The most important historical park in Florence. It was built between the 16th and 18th century on the back of Palazzo Pitti. It is one of the brightest examples of Italian-style garden. There are several points of interest across the garden. Starting from the Garden of the Knight and the amphitheatre, passing by Jupiter’s Garden, to the lemon-tree house, each of the 45.000 m² has something special to discover.
On the other hand, sculptures can be found everywhere. In fact, ancient statues of mythological figures make the place alive and enchanting. However, in the last century, some other sculptures have come to populate the gardens, such as the statue of Tindaro Screpolato. In conclusion, in this Unesco heritage site, you can deeply breathe art, culture and botanic. Enjoy your visit!
Learn more: Boboli Gardens
Green accomodation: Lebbiano Bio Resort
Cà la Ghironda, Emilia Romagna, Italy
Only 10 minutes away from Bologna, you can find Cà La Ghironda museum area, which comprehends a museum, an atelier and a 10 hectares park. Precisely here, you can enjoy more than 210 sculptures with different shapes and materials. This park is an oasis for local vegetation and animals. Here they can live without fearing artificial dangers and obstacles. In essence, this place can be a destination for many different people. Loving art, nature and open-air are the only requirements to have a great time.
Learn more: Cà la Ghironda
Green accommodation: B&B Cà del Buco
Campo del Sole, Umbria, Italy
On the north side of Trasimeno lake, the artists Cordelia von den Steinen and Mauro Berrettini realized Campo del Sole. Coming from a project by Pietro Cascella, the park hosts a total of 27 sandstone columns. As a result of their spiral disposition, the visitors come naturally to the centre, where a monument dedicated to the Sun is set. For this reason, the centre is a metaphor for a place of encounter and gathering. Who lives this experience may meet new people, as the author wanted.
Learn more: Campo del Sole
Green accomodation: Relais il Parco Fiorito Agriturismo Biologico
Selva di Sogno, Tuscany, Italy
Selva di Sogno is a bizarre and appealing mix of mysterious sculptures and dense vegetation, in Chiusdino, Province of Siena. The artist Deva Manfredo realised and placed in this magic wood more than 200 artworks. In particular, he uses stones and rocks of any size and colours. Furthermore, what’s amazing about Manfredo’s sculpture technique is that he uses only gravity to stack the stones. After all, a walk through the trees of these wood is a chance to discover some of the marvels Mafredo patiently created.
Learn more (only available in Italian): Selva di Sogno
Green accommodation: Tenuta di Spannocchia
Domaine du Muy, Provence, France
The sculpture is the protagonist of this Frenc valley, in Provence. Thanks to Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand and to his son Edward, Domaine du Muy started its life 5 years ago. In the last few years, 40 different artists have contributed to this open-air museum. A key point of every artwork is the un-forced connection between nature and sculpture. That is to say, the installation of the works does not invade or damage that area. Instead, this contact between natural and artificial shapes creates a harmonic sight.
Learn more: Domaine du Muy
Green accommodation: Carpe Diem Chambres d’hôtes
Art Park Orme su La Court, Piemonte, Italy
Located in Castelnuovo Calcea, in the Monferrato area, Art Park Orme su La Court offers the chance to live a unique experience. In fact, La Court is also a vineyard with over 20 hectares of surface. For this reason, the picturesque hill landscape sets the perfect atmosphere to enjoy nature-inspired artworks of the open-air museum. In other words, there are 4 main natural themes: air, fire, water, earth. Among other international artists, Emanuele Luzzanti took care of the settings and scenography of the museum. Moreover, what is unique about this museum, is the opportunity to complete the visual-art experience with local wine tasting from Michele Chiarlo wine cellar.
Learn more: Orme su La Court
Green accommodation: Verdmont
Österreichischer Skulpturenpark,Gratz, Austria
Österreichischer Skulpturenpark opened in 2003, from a project by Swiss architect Dieter Kienast. The park hosts over 75 sculptures. Materials and shapes are different from work to work, but the common theme is the relationship with nature. Sculpture and nature influence constantly one another, each in a different way. In conclusion, the visit to this artistic garden can lead to the acknowledgement of our connection with the Earth.
Learn more: Österreichischer Skulpturenpark
Green accommodation: Pension Zur Steirerstub’n