Monday, November 02, 2009

L'Orto Botanico di Roma

L'Orto Botanico di Roma is the botanic garden in Rome. It belongs to the University of Rome and is the former garden of the Palazzo Corsini. We visited the garden last June on our first day in Italy. It was a lovely morning but by the time we arrived we were a bit tired as we had taken one wrong turn and walked up an unnecessary hill or two before regaining our bearings. I found the garden pleasant even if a bit disheveled. The young mothers playing with their children on the lawns reminded me of other botanic gardens I have visited...from Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas, CA to Boboli Gardens in Florence I'm pretty sure moms and kids are standard features in most botanic gardens.
I wandered the paths and saw a few interesting plant groupings, including a bamboo collection that also reminded me of Quail Gardens, but it was for the most part unexciting. When I saw the above sign, however, I found something that I felt was worth the wandering. The Orto dei Semplici is an herb garden with an emphasis on medicinal uses for plants. That being said, it seemed to me there were an excess of plants capable of causing moderate to severe digestive reactions...I'm not sure I would appreciate being the recipient of some of these cures.These curious fuzzy fruits on a cucumber type plant were not what you'd want to find in your salad!
L'Orto dei Semplici was set out in raised brick beds, the whole of which was also raised so that you entered it by climbing a few steps.
Leaving L'Orto dei Semplici I found a strange but beautiful 18th century staircase, designed by Fuga, complete with water feature that seemed cast adrift from whatever purpose it once served.

And even further into the far reaches of the garden I found the Nicchione, also designed by Fuga in the 18th century.

One of the last things I saw here was the star shaped Giardino degli Aromi or garden of aromas. This area featured many scented plants and plants that have pleasant tactile characteristics. There were quite a few scented geraniums...a pretty way to end my visit.


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

No adventure in Rome is complete without getting a little lost ("Sempre diritto, sempre diritto!") I'm not surprised about the abundance of wicked plants, remember the Borgias?
Thanks for the tour, I never made it there. It looks very interesting.

Annie in Austin said...

How wonderful to go to Italy, Leslie! The disheveled part wouldn't bother me much, either.

Ooh, MMD mentioned Borgias which brings to mind poison...maybe that's why one wants to keep a purgative handy? Just in case one accidentally drinks from the wrong goblet?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Anonymous said...

You remember this trip like it was yesterday so I can see it was very impressive even if you did get lost. Something about mothers playing with their kids makes any garden seems more welcome and real doesn't it?

Loving that staircase and other features of the gardens which play off each other romantically. Just beautiful.

Thank you so much for giving to the Operation Christmas Child project. I have purchased some of what is needed for the boxes and will continue to do so till the 20th. So many little kids will get a Christmas because you helped. Big hugs!

Cindy, MCOK said...

What a beautiful garden! Do you look back at your time there and feel like it's a wonderful dream?

EAL said...

I think all of Italy I saw was a garden. So many plants grow wild there that I would never be able to have.