To many of us, the great gardens of Italy seem like paradise on earth. But how much do we know of their history, and the people who created them? In this book, illustrated with contemporary paintings, drawings and prints as well as photographs of the gardens today, Helena Attlee tells their story. She starts with Petrarch - still looking to medieval chronicles for advice on how and when to plant - and goes on to the Renaissance and those first gardens to emerge from architects' plans. Then she describes the great gardens of the Medici; the first botanic gardens; the weird Mannerist gardens and their grottoes followed by the Baroque splendour of Isola Bella and the Villa Aldobrandini; the Neoclassical and Picturesque gardens of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; and how, in the twentieth century, expatriates with money to lavish on their villas and gardens brought new delights.
A fascinating account of the development of Italian horticulture from the late middle ages to the present day. Brilliantly illustrated. Art Book One of the best, if not the best to date ... unusually luxurious to handle ... this book is an essential read for any garden lover and should inspire an appreciation of gardens as an important part of Italian culture. -- Judith Tankard Hortus Ms Attlee's breadth of research is impressive and she's adept at tying gardens and horticulture into the wider world of Renaissance and Baroque learning, taste, literature and visual arts. Stunning modern photographs by Alex Ramsay are interspersed with high quality reproductions of contemporary paintings, sculptures and books. Historic Gardens Review
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Helena Attlee has spent long periods in Italy and is steeped in that country's art and literature. She lectures widely on Italian gardens, conducts garden tours in Italy and took part in the National Geographic television series on The Great Gardens of Italy. She contributes regularly to newspapers and magazines including The Daily Telegraph, Country Life, World of Interiors, Gardens Illustrated and House and Garden. She is the author of a number of books including Italian Gardens: a visitors' guide, Country Towns of Provence and Country Towns of Tuscany. Alex Ramsay's photographs have appeared in many books on gardens and landscapes, including Helena Attlee's Italian Gardens, Country Towns of Provence and Country Towns of Tuscany