The Vatican Gardens

An Architectural and Horticultural History

Release Date
Format Hardcover 352 pages 9.44 x 12.81 inches 175 full-color illustrations
ISBN-13 978-0-78921-048-7
Retailers Amazon

An authoritative, visually stunning study of one of the world's most imitated and venerated gardens.

The inspiration for virtually all of Rome’s famous gardens, the Vatican Gardens first flourished during the Middle Ages and have awed visitors ever since. Yet despite their importance to the history of Western gardens and art, no full-length study of the gardens has previously been published. With the release of The Vatican Gardens—the third in a series co-published with the Vatican that also includes The Sistine Chapel: A New Vision and The Loggia of Raphael: A Vatican Art Treasure—these important gardens have at last received their full due.

Covering the period from the thirteenth century through 1930, when the Vatican became a state, The Vatican Gardens explores the plants, planters, and architectural structures of the gardens in fascinating detail. Here you will learn about such celebrated gardeners as Michele Mercate, who around 1570 introduced the rarest plants of his time to the Vatican, and the great botanist Johannes Faber. The famous Cortile del Belvedere courtyard, designed by Donato Branmante for Pope Julius II and envisioned as a vast outdoor room, is brought to vibrant life through word and image. Discussion of the Gardens’ symbolic significance, agricultural functions, and upkeep by such gardening popes as Leo XIII—as well as of the gardens at Castel Gandolfo, the pope's four-centuries-old summer residence—completes this authoritative volume.

Illustrated throughout with newly commissioned images and plans as well as historic pictures and diagrams, and featuring research that—among much else—establishes the Vatican Gardens as the oldest botanical garden in Italy, this original volume belongs in the libraries of landscape gardeners, architects, historians, and visitors to Rome.

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