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  • Engadina | Terrimago

    PHOTOGRAPHIC DIARY Winter Landscape in Engadine Text e photographs by Cristina Archinto D riven by the desire to change my visual horizon, I found myself in the high mountains in a wonderful place so loved by both the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the painter Giovanni Segantini who often portrayed his landscapes; the Upper Engadin valley. The striking high snow-capped mountains laying below they are covered by dense dark woods of pines and stone pines, which contrast with a vast flat area with its white frozen lakes. After a day spent on the tops of the mountains where the landscape was breathtaking but very "postcard" and perhaps not very intriguing, I opted for the plain. First a walk in the neighboring woods and the day after a fascinating walk on Lake Sils, to discover its ice, its crevices but also its songs. Yes, because I discovered that the frozen body of water sings, emitting cracks and harmonies that almost recall the song of whales, a phenomenon that occurs only in certain moments when the expansion and contraction of the ice occurs due to changes in temperature . Definitely intriguing but also a little scary especially when you find yourself in the middle of the lake. ​ In general, even if it is stimulating, it is not easy to photograph the snow, first of all you have to pay attention to the exposure meter, which, struck by the intense light reflecting on the snow, will push you to take darker pictures. Autofocus is also not happy when trying to focus when aimed at a very white surface. Also you have to be careful with the shot, it is not trivial to photograph the white expanses without flattening the whole landscape. Photo notes The snowy woods are wonderful , they are silent, very silent. In this case, given the scarcity of snow, there were also pine needles which, lying on the white mantle, create an interesting texture. I tried to capture that silence and contrast. An interesting part of photographing a snowy landscape is that the colors decrease significantly but the hues increase. In this case, after removing the black and white, we end up with only greens and browns. With blurs you can create the depths of an image, in this case I put the young wild reed in focus with the snow around with the macro mode totally blurring the background. The reflections on the still waters are always my passion, in this case since the subject is the river and the reflection of the mountain covers only a small part of the frame, creates depth and the illusion that there is snow on the river, also here too the colors are two browns and blues. To tell the vastness of the frozen lake, my dog Cannella was propitious, as was the lady with the hat, making the photograph even more interesting. In this image I tell the power of the landscape , with the mountains and sinuous white streaks of snow that stands out in an intense blue resting on the vastness of the lake. Photographing ice is very difficult! Difficult to focus on it, find the right exposure and above all walk on it without ending up upside down with a camera! A good escape point and consequently depth is c offender with a nice fence or tracks in the snow. ​ And that's what I mean when I suggest watching great artists to learn their framing! ​ Giovanni Segantini, The death (Triptych of the Alps) 1897-99 Question: Why in this photograph, which I've transformed into black and white, does the snow looks like sand? GALLERY Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Other GARDENS and PARKS Reggia di Venaria Reggia di Venaria Giardini Botanici di Villa Taranto Giardini Botanici di Villa Taranto I giardini di Villa Melzi I giardini di Villa Melzi Parco giardini di Sicurtà Parco giardini di Sicurtà Gairdino di Villa Lante Villa Lante parco del Flauto Magico Parco Flauto Magico Bomarzo

  • On taking pictures | terrimago

    Terrimago On taking pictures ​ Terrimago On taking pictures i s a section of Terrimago that develops in a purely photographic field, with the help of Cristina Archinto garden and landscape photographer for many years. Here you can find the photos tips to improve your shots in a specific field such as gardens and plants. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​Subscribe to the newsletter to keep you up to date and not lose any information. MORE " Cristina Archinto with her photographs project us beyond the purely aesthetic dimension, they accompany us in a profound experience with the environment, with a garden, with nature. Photographic stories that narrate amazement and that lead you to reflect on these beauties , a leap for the spirit, a cultural journey. Clever photographic games to reconstruct the magic of a garden, a vegetable garden or a plant; the magic of nature." My fair newsletter

  • gardenphotoclub | terrimago

    Terrimago to photograph ​ Share your shots ​ ​ We decided to create a community of garden photography , In this section you can share your shots with the whole community of the Garden Photography Club. Just sign up and upload your best shots with a small description of the photographic project and any captions. You will also be able to have a small reading of your portfolio. ​

  • Villa Pisani | Terrimago

    BOTANY VILLA PISANI THE IMPRESSIONIST MEADOW Photos Cristina Archinto Text Carla DeAgostini I n the huge lawn of Villa Pisani the owner Mariella Bolognesi Scalabrin decided ten years ago to create an “impressionist painting” with more than one hundred thousand tulips and wild spring flowers in honour of the history and emotions shared and experienced by the previous owner Countess Evelina van Millingen Pisani. So in orther to maintain this marvellous work, every year Mariella Scalabrin plants forty thousand new bulbs, which she lays and covers with soil with her own hands, all in studied positions, combining the superb refinement of the tulip with the humble beauty of the spring wild flower. This work is meticulously thought out each year, the choice of bulbs is in relation to the height and different blooming of the wild flowers, such as dandelion, buttercup or iris, he chooses the colour of the tulip, and alternates early, medium or late bloomers, so that the meadow remains colourful and homogeneous until the last dandelions bloom. Tulips and wild flowers relate to timing and size and Mariella Scalabrin follows everything personally: "it is by choosing from the catalogue that you create the piece of art," she told us. And she succeeds in doing so perfectly: two hectares of lawn with a path in between to admire the never trivial colours, and the always carefully studied gradations. No tulip calyx has only one colour, but plays on the streaks, the qualities of yellows, the nuances of whites, the red or orange mottling, or even the pink or purple hues. The colourful vision of tulips in more than 90 colours gives unexpected emotions and tells of the magic of a meadow cultivated by hand with hard work and the love of an owner, without the rigidity of a machine imposing its own design on the soil. Mariella Scalabrin is very attached to the Villa and to the fascinating story of Evelina Pisani, and every time she welcomes a visitor to her garden, she never misses an opportunity to talk about it and to spread the love and respect for flowers that this place holds and enhances with every blooming. GALLERY Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Info:  Official site MORE ENVIRONMENT AND BOTANY Papaveri e api Vie cave opuntia fiorita Opuntia Alberi Caño Cristales Palmeti Palmeti Caldara di Manziana Terra scoscesa

  • Reggia di Venaria | Terrimago

    PHOTOGRAPHIC DIARY Winter lights in the gardens of the Reggia di Venaria Text e photographs by Cristina Archinto W ent to the Reggia di Venaria to see the John Constable exhibition, I found myself with my nose pressed against a window entranced by the beauty of its winter gardens. The absence of sun due to a blanket of gray-white clouds increased its charm. I often repeat that I feel more like a photographer of light than of gardens but in front of so many geometries I confess that I found myself back in time, to my first great passion: architectural photography. Determined not to miss this opportunity, I find myself in the park, two months after having already done a photo shoot, this time accompanied only by the Leica camera but certainly sufficient for the occasion, and above all with no work obligations. Present at the situation only a very cold and no soul. Perfect. ​ Inaugurated in 2007, the Venaria Gardens are a good combination of a recovered geometric 17th-18th century past and an artistic present with works of art by Giuseppe Penone and Giovanni Anselmo harmoniously inserted into its landscape. The entire city complex of Venaria develops in length, and the garden follows its course with the very long Allea Centrale which goes from the fountain of Hercules to the temple of Diana creating a single axis as a whole. Along the side of the Citroniera and the Galleria Grande is the Grand Parterre with tones of grandeur given by the proportions, full of cylindrical yews, citrus pots and real rooms with walls, groves and vegetable vaults along the perimeter with many flowers, mostly of the year. In the eighteenth century it was a representative area, where strolling with an umbrella while gossiping was a must. Unfortunately, over time it has also been a place where nature has been replaced by soldiers from everywhere, during various wars. There are also various gardens, such as rose gardens, flower gardens and Potager Royal gardens with vegetables and orchards, but they are certainly not an attraction in this season. Photo notes In the Venaria gardens anyone who loves to observe is certainly fascinated by the beauty of the almost completely bare hornbeam avenues which, instead of hiding, only veil the Great Palace or the branched structures of the majestic trees along the avenues and next to the Peschiera pool which are reflected on the slightly frozen. Even the birches with their white branches and a very few brown leaves blend in the light of the landscape as if they were Japanese silks. The long perspective avenues cut the photographic frame in two, the pyramid box trees and the hedges trimmed in steps or semicircles impose themselves on the image as abstract art. Works too from the rigid forms of Pennone they underline the geometric aspect of the landscape. Perhaps at first glance it seems easy to photograph these gardens, mainly thanks to the geometries that easily tell the space, you have to be careful because the rigor of the axes must be absolute, even a slightly inclined photo would be a distraction for the eyes. Furthermore, using the central focal point there are no difficulties, otherwise if you want to vary it, you have to be careful of the balance of the shot which, if distorted, risks breaking the harmony of the photograph, making it unpleasant. The colors of winter and with light uniform tend to maintain similar and soft shades ranging from beige to green. In this case we wanted to give a strong contrast with red or yellow peaks due to the branches of the white cornelian salts present in the garden. The uniform light of the day is the reason for the total absence of shadows, fact that in more natural contexts would create a lot of discomfort, in this case it proves successful not only because it can easily be photographed from any side but also because the geometric shapes are not deformed by the dark of their shadows. Experimenting photographically with these gardens and in these conditions is magical, I recommend it to everyone, whether they are gardens or even a landscape in the plains, in winter or with a uniformly colored sky. A great master was Luigi Ghirri who, for those who by chance do not know yet, I strongly recommend going to Parma until February 26 to see his exhibitionVision labyrinths. Luigi Ghirri 1991 . Go there and find out. Or go to the Reggia di Venaria, you will certainly find very stimulating panoramic points in other seasons as well. The important thing is first of all to observe, observe and observe again, then elaborate the shot and finally take a picture that is truly yours. ​ GALLERY Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Link Palace of Venaria Other GARDENS and PARKS Giardini Botanici di Villa Taranto Giardini Botanici di Villa Taranto I giardini di Villa Melzi I giardini di Villa Melzi Parco giardini di Sicurtà Parco giardini di Sicurtà Gairdino di Villa Lante Villa Lante parco del Flauto Magico Parco Flauto Magico Bomarzo Parco Villa la Grange Labirinto della Masone

  • Labyrinth of Masone | Terrimago

    REGGIA EMILIA Labyrinth of Masone BY LIVIA DANESE In the province of Parma, near the small town of Fontanellato, is the largest labyrinth in the world. The Labirinto della Masone was founded by publisher and art collector Franco Maria Ricci. He and his friend and colleague Jorge Luis Borges fantasized about conceiving a garden with natural winding paths to ideally represent the uncertainties of each man's life. One can associate the complexity of the world with the intricate shape of a labyrinth, which is a symbol of the perplexity and bewilderment experienced by men who face the unknown. A labyrinth is traditionally created to confuse and disorient, yet the Labirinto della Masone’s purpose is to distance itself as much as possible from the labyrinth-prison analogy. On the contrary it was created to amaze, surprise and welcome visitors. Bamboo plants are the undisputed protagonists of the garden: they are light but extremely resistant and soar upwards to surprising heights. Bambusa species are symbolically linked with many values and virtues. In Eastern tradition they metaphorically represent the conscience of upright men who remain steadfast while facing adversities. Furthermore many legends associate bamboo with perseverance and patience: only after developing strong and healthy roots can the plant grow elegantly and abundantly. The Labyrinth is made up of more than 200 000 different species that grow vigorously towards the sky, forming a maze of seemingly indistinguishable paths and dead ends. One can stop in the shade of this evergreen plant along the way, internalizing the bamboo’s symbolic meanings which remind us of the importance of being flexible yet resistant, versatile and patient. Intricate plays of lights and shadows as well as alternating colours accompany the visitor along a winding, alienating path. It leads to an unusual pyramid-shaped chapel at the centre of the labyrinth, where wider and brighter spaces abruptly spread out. Here the visitor can finally find his bearings and is guided towards the end of the route. The Labirinto della Masone is a place to visit at least once in a lifetime, not only for the site itself but also for the surrounding countryside. This genuine, real and anachronistic scenery was in fact much loved by photographer Luigi Ghirri. Livia Danese GALLERY Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Info: Official website more botanical gardens and nurseries Parco Paterno del Toscano Orto Botanico di Ginevra Orto Botanico di Ginevra Centro Botanico Moutan Orto Botanico di Palermo Roseto di Roma Chicago Batanical Garden Giardino Esotico Pallanca

  • Villa Melzi d'Eril | Terrimago

    LOMBARDY VILLA MELZI GARDENS The geometrical taste of green Photographs Cristina Archinto Text Carla De Agostini I t was in 1808 that Francesco Melzi d'Eril, Duke of Lodi, Grand Councillor, Keeper of the Seals of the Kingdom of Italy and a personal friend of Napoleon's, decided to build his summer residence at Bellagio on land with a stupendous view of Lake Como. Thus Villa Melzi and its gardens were created, taking advantage of the natural terraces and the variety of views in which it is immersed, playing on the curved paths that cross the property throughout its extension and connect the points of interest, the architectural furnishings and the numerous sculptures with historical and mythological subjects placed among the rich vegetation. At the entrance to the property, in the direction of Bellagio, one reaches a small area laid out as an oriental garden, with a characteristic pond, surrounded by Japanese maples and camellias that create a brightly coloured ensemble. The garden alternates majestic century-old trees with exotic and rare species, grouped in wooded patches, planted in rows along the shore or isolated in the grassy carpet. The refined taste for the exotic that characterises the Villa Melzi Gardens finds its most graceful expression in the numerous species of historic camellias, now about 250, that can be admired in the park, especially near the two entrances, at Loppia and Bellagio. Many of them were born from seed and are mostly related to the main species of Camelia japonica, but a large number are cultivars of great historical-botanical interest, created in the nineteenth century. Villa Melzi also picks up the tradition of topiary art, which in Italy reached excellence in the late Renaissance. At that time, the taste and sensibility of Humanism, whose philosophy is based on the idea of Promethean man and his triumph over nature, inspired the creation of gardens carefully subordinated to the geometry of forms, then the rediscovery of the ars topiary with its pruning techniques to shape plants into decorative forms. This style has its roots in Roman times, with an influence from Greek art, when, in other words, thanks to the Empire, cultural trends were reunited and intertwined in the service of a new aesthetic. The first experiments were carried out in the new gardens of suburban villas, desired by aristocratic families. The Roman garden acquired an interweaving of poetry, sculpture and Hellenic painting, which gave rise to a truly new landscape composition, which would later become the basis of the Italian garden. In the gardens of Villa Melzi, symmetries can be appreciated, not only for their geometric taste but also to celebrate the beauty of the essential characteristics of nature itself: not only gardening but art, through the precise choice of colours and shapes, such as the umbrella pruning of the plane trees or the particular positioning of centuries-old trees and exotic species, where Ginkgo biloba, red beeches or camphor trees enhance the view around them, together with shrubs, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Love and precision stand out at Villa Melzi, in the care of the greenery, in the architectural variety of parapets, balustrades, marble busts, in the galleries of citrus trees, which create an unusual and fascinating play of geometries, in which to lose oneself without paying attention to the passing of time. THE CAMALLIA IN HISTORY In Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera , the protagonist Fermina Daza refuses the camellia offered to her by Florentino saying that "it is a flower that pledges". And it was precisely as a pledge of love that camellias arrived in Italy in 1760, a gift from Admiral Nelson to Lady Emma Hamilton, who had them planted in the garden of the Royal Palace of Caserta. Very similar to the rose and large in size, the flowers of the camellia originate in China and Japan and belong to the Theaceae family. Ornamental camellias were immediately considered a rarity destined for the few, a display not only of power but also of refined tastes. Over time, the history of this flower has taken on many facets and meanings, but the most widespread is undoubtedly the symbol of love, devotion and esteem. The camellia achieved great fame with Alexandre Dumas' novel The Lady with the Camellias , first published in 1848, in which Marguerite Gautier was inspired by the courtesan Marie Duplessis, who used to pin a white or red camellia on her dress, depending on the season. This fashion shared by both men and women soon became a classy detail on the lapels of gentlemen and in the hair of ladies, and would remain pinned to their necklines for a long time. In 1923 Coco Chanel took to the catwalk for the first time dresses with broches (brooches) of white chiffon camellias, modelled on the Camelia japonica Alba plena , whose structure of overlapping petals is thought to have suggested to her the double C cross; in those same years Proust called them camélia à la boutonnière (Camellia in the buttonhole). Over time, the camellia went from being a flower of nobility and luxury to being more democratic, but in gardens it still retains its air of a refined flower. GALLERY Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO LINK Official website More Gardens and Parks Parco giardini di Sicurtà Parco giardini di Sicurtà Gairdino di Villa Lante Villa Lante parco del Flauto Magico Parco Flauto Magico Bomarzo Parco Villa la Grange Labirinto della Masone Giardino di Kenroku-en Giardino dell'impossibile

  • Pitigliano Tuff City | Terrimago

    TOSCANY "Vie Cave" by CARLA DE AGOSTINI Pitigliano, together with Sovana and Sorano, is one of Tuscany's tuff cities. This charming mediaeval town, which stands on a steep spur of tufa, dominates the surrounding valleys from above, where the Prochio and Meleta rivers flow into the Lente. Originally a small independent duchy during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, it has come to be considered the little Jerusalem of the Maremma due to the pivotal role the Jews played in the life of the town, and because it has always been a centre of refuge in Central Italy. The earliest settlement probably originated in the 16th century by the Orsini counts. ​ In the valley that surrounds it, there are the Vie Cave, paths carved into the tufa along rocky slopes of volcanic origin, unique works of great historical and cultural importance that date back to the Etruscans. In Pitigliano alone, there are at least a dozen Vie cave, including the Pantano and San Lorenzo, which all vary in size. Up to a kilometre long, these paths are between two to four metres wide and up to twenty-five metres high. These winding and often interconnected paths are a mystery to scholars as there are no precise answers as to their use. Some hypothesise a sacred and funerary use, others claim they were connecting roads, defensive systems or even water drainage works. To date, the thesis on funerary routes seems to be the most widely accepted, because the semi-underground routes tend to coincide with the crossing of a necropolis. At the time of the Etruscans, the Vie Cave were lower, but as their use diversified, and they were increasingly used as shortcuts between villages and valleys, they became deeper and deeper. In fact, it has been calculated that the route that can be taken today is often more than ten metres lower. This difference is most probably due to various reconstruction works carried out over time, including further excavations to regularise the erosion of the road surface, which had been worn down and made uneven, particularly by the trampling of pack animals' hooves. As you walk along these paths, you can read the history of the place through signs left over time. You can find tombs and engravings from the Etruscan period, mediaeval inscriptions or signs of water regulation, dating up to the Christian era. Also present are the residues of "scacciadiavoli": niches containing sacred images that were intended to reassure travellers. But that's not all, there are signs testifying to pagan rites that have become traditional over time, such as the celebration of the 19th of March in the Via Cava di San Giuseppe: the event consisting of a night-time procession, during which burning bundles are carried to celebrate the arrival of spring. Another peculiarity is the microclimate produced between these vertiginous walls. In some places, the foliage of the trees has formed a sort of vegetal roof that has favoured the growth of vegetation typical of damp and shady environments, such as ferns, mosses, lichens, ivy and lianas, which create suggestive plays of light and contribute to their charm. Trad.Greta Sanna GALLERY Photo @ Cristina Archinto Highlights MOSSES Mosses belong to the large family of Bryophytes, Bryophyta, and are very primitive organisms but of great interest for understanding the study of the evolution of terrestrial plants. Mosses, which lack of vascular tissue, absorb and transport water by capillary way present on the whole plant, this characteristic prevents its growth in height, developing instead in soft green carpets that we find on rocks and trunks, even vertically. Mosses absorb well rain water and air which they retain even in summertime and in woods they are fundamental because they help seeds which fall from trees to germinate. Moreover, they absorb great quantities of CO2 and they are fundamental for the safeguard of the ecosystem and for biodiversity. MORE ENVIRONMENT AND BOTANY Vie cave opuntia fiorita Opuntia Trees Caño Cristales Palmeti Palm trees Caldara di Manziana Steep land Tiber

  • Botanical Garden of Berlin | terrimago

    GERMANY BERLIN BOTANICAL GARDEN ​ The World in a Garden Photographs of Cristina Archinto Text Carla De Agostini and Noa Terracina T he Berlin Botanical Garden with its 43 hectares and 22,000 plant species is a botanical institution and one of the largest in the world. Founded in 1679 as a place for growing vegetables, it then moved to the Lichterfelde district and underwent a significant transformation into a landscape garden between 1897 and 1910 under the direction of Adolf Engler whose motto was 'the world in a garden' referring to plant geography. ​ In fact, in one third of the entire outdoor area of the garden the plants are arranged in a phytogeographical order, i.e. by geographical area , so walking through this area is like walking around the world among the different endemic habitats corresponding to the various countries of the world, from forests to prairies and from the mountains of the United States to those of Asia. In the rock gardens, for example, the Appalachians of the Atlantic slope and the Californian Pacific mountains are represented. Then there is the Anatolian Plateau and then the Himalayas, where the vegetation of both the western slope characterised by long monsoon rains and the eastern slope with even wetter months and visible differences have been reproduced. Then we end in Japan, where Prunus , Magnolias, and various types of forest can be recognised, with for example Cryptomeria japonica and Sophora japonica . ​ But there are other outdoor areas that are also very interesting, such as an arboretum, which groups trees according to their natural relationships, a specific garden that sharpens your sense of smell and touch with interesting common and uncommon aromatic plants, a medicinal plant garden with about 230 types of plants arranged according to areas of application for certain diseases, a small Italian garden, and also marshes and water gardens with 200 plants, some of which are endangered. Another very pleasant corner is the rose garden, which is very well maintained and has a remarkable collection of roses from all over the world . Finally, there is also the herbaceous plant zone, a research area that is also protected from visitors and contains some 80 endangered plants. But the real highlight is the huge Tropical Greenhouse, declared a World Heritage Site , which has been the symbol of the Botanical Garden for over a hundred years, a remarkable example of 19th century glass and steel architecture. Today, it is still one of the most impressive and largest free-standing greenhouses in the world, housing more than 1,400 plant species. Destroyed in the autumn of 1943 during the war, it was rebuilt a first time in the 1960s, but it is only thanks to the latest renovation in 2009 with technological materials that it has become a completely state-of-the-art facility, resulting in considerable energy savings, with peaks of up to 70% in the air-conditioning systems, which are crucial in the greenhouses. Divided into fourteen separate but all connected rooms, it has always been an enchantment for those who walk through it because of the overabundance of colourful plants and flowers of every type and species: from giant bamboos in the tropical greenhouse to ferns over 200 years old in the fern greenhouse to the orchid collection and carnivorous plants. Succulents from the tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World also have their own greenhouse, dominated by the candelabrum-shaped Euphorbia species and aloes with their large fleshy leaves. The neighbouring greenhouse, on the other hand, presents a landscape of New World succulents, where mainly overgrown cacti, but also species such as agaves and other Crassulacea e reside. The last arrival is the Victoria House, where in addition to the famous giant water lilies, such as the Victoria Amazonica , which with its imposing floating leaves can support a uniformly distributed weight of more than 100 kg, some species that, according to Frontiers Plants Biology, are endangered in certain parts of the world such as Bolivia due to the destruction of their habitat, are also studied here. Another place of excellence is the Botanical Museum added in 1905 to the Botanical Garden complex: unique of its kind in all of Central Europe, it preserves not only the precious heritage of the historic royal herbarium and the Berlin herbarium, but also studies focusing on the interactions of living organisms with soil chemistry, physics and hydrology. This approach was inherited from the research of Adolf Engler, famous for his approach to plant taxonomy, based on evolutionary schemes inspired by Charles Darwin, to which he added the importance of geographical distribution: the idea that plants adapt to climatic conditions, forming communities. In those years, the term biotope was soon to be used, i.e. minimum territorial units that allow the development of living organisms, plants and animals, with certain physical-chemical-climatic characteristics; a crucial concept for the development and knowledge of habitats, environmental climates and today's ecology. For this reason, a visit to the museum is dedicated not only to the ancestry of plants, types of vegetation and their different environments, but also to the influence of the environment and climatic conditions on plant morphology. The Berlin Botanical Garden is truly a crossroads of knowledge and biodiversity , a place of study and research, but also a place of hospitality for anyone who wants to stroll through it and breathe air from all over the world. There is no season that is not distinguished by its colours, scents, or scenery, and every excuse is good to drop by. FEATURED THE VICTORIA AMAZONICA The Victoria Amazonica is a name that conjures up those huge leaves floating on the water. But not everyone knows that it was the morphology of this unique water lily that inspired the Crystal Palace greenhouse at Kew in London in 1851, made of iron and glass. The idea starts from the strength of the leaf, whose ribs on the lower face, organised like a system of buttresses, can support up to 100 kg of evenly distributed weight. The rigid radially symmetrical centric leaves covered with strong spines are reinforced by several concentric and flexible ribs distributed in opposite directions, a morphological feature that recurs in the construction solution of the Crystal Palace. But the fascination of the Victorias does not stop there; their enormous flowers can reach up to 30 cm in diameter, and they only bloom for one day and two nights. On the first evening, at dusk, a large, thorn-covered bud opens and a white flower appears, which, thanks to a thermodynamic reaction, raises its internal temperature 11 degrees above the ambient temperature. This released heat and a pineapple-like scent attract beetles, which at dawn, when the flower closes, become trapped in it. But as they are not carnivorous plants, they do not die, but rather spend the day there feeding on the starch-rich floral appendages. On the second night the flower changes colour, and takes on shades of pink or red, and at dusk releases the insects, which, soaked in pollen, go on to fertilise another flower. At dawn on the second day, the flower withers, closes and dips, and it is there that the fruit ripens. Link Victoria Greenhouse GALLERY Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Info: Official website more botanical gardens and nurseries Orto botanico di Madrid Orto botanico di Amsterdam Orto botanico di Napoli Orto Botanico di Zurigo e la Serra Malgascia Giardino Botanico Nuova Gussonea Orto Botanico di Catania Orto Botanico di Ginevra Centro Botanico Moutan

  • Villa d'Este | Terrimago

    LAZIO TIVOLI ​ Villa d'Este Villa d’Este, masterpiece of the Italian Garden, is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. With its impressive concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music, it constitutes a much-copied model for European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles. The garden is generally considered within the larger –and altogether extraordinary-- context of Tivoli itself: its landscape, art and history which includes the important ruins of ancient villas such as the Villa Adriana, as well as a zone rich in caves and waterfalls displaying the unending battle between water and stone. The imposing constructions and the series of terraces above terraces bring to mind the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. The addition of water-- including an aqueduct tunneling beneath the city -- evokes the engineering skill of the Romans themselves. Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, after the disappointment of a failed bid for the papacy, brought back to life here the splendor of the courts of Ferrara, Rome and Fontainebleau and revived the magnificence of Villa Adriana. Governor of Tivoli from 1550, he immediately nurtured the idea of realizing a garden in the hanging cliffs of the “Valle gaudente”, but it was only after 1560 that his architectural and iconographic program became clear—brainchild of the painter-architect-archeologist Pirro Ligorio and realized by court architect Alberto Galvani. The rooms of the Palace were decorated under the tutelage of the stars of the late Roman Mannerism, such as Livio Agresti, Federico Zuccari, Durante Alberti, Girolamo Muziano, Cesare Nebbia and Antonio Tempesta. The work was almost complete at the time of the Cardinal’s death (1572). From 1605 Cardinal Alessandro d'Este gave the go-ahead to a new progam of interventions not only to restore and repair the vegetation and the waterworks, but also to create a new series of innovations to the layout of the garden and the decorations of the fountains. Other works were carried out from 1660 – 70; these involved no less a figure than Gianlorenzo Bernini. In the XVIIIth century the lack of maintenance led to the decay of the complex, which was aggravated by the property’s passage to the House of Hapsburg. The garden was slowly abandoned, the water works-- no longer used--fell into ruin, and the collection of ancient statues— enlarged under Cardinal Ippolito, was disassembled and scattered. This state of decay continued without interruption until the middle of the XIXth century, when Gustav Adolf von Hohenlohe, who obtained in enfiteusi the villa from the Dukes of Modena in 1851, launched a series of works to pull the complex back from its state of ruin. Between 1867 and 1882 the Villa once again became a cultural point of reference, with the Cardinal frequently hosting the musician Franz Liszt (1811 - 1886), who composed Giochi d'acqua a Villa d'Este for piano while a guest here, and who in 1879 gave one of his final concerts. At the outbreak of the first world war the villa became a property of the Italian State, and during the 1920s it was restored and opened to the public. Another, radical restoration was carried out immediately after the Second World War to repair the damage caused by the bombing of 1944. Due to particularly unfavorable environmental conditions, the restorations have continued practically without interruption during the past twenty years (among these it is worth noting the recent cleaning of the Organ Fountain and also the “Birdsong.”) Gallery 1/1 Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Info: more gardens and parks Parco del Paterno del Toscano Villa Lante Labirinto della Masone Giardino dell'impossibile Giardino di Ninfa Villa Pizzo Castello di Masino Parchi di Parigi

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