Surrounded by Greenery – The Secret Gardens of Venice

At first sight Venice is seen hardly green. But taking a closer look, apart from the bustle of the tourist crowds, one discovers a very different Venice. Behind its high walls one can find hidden gardens, secret gardens, hardly suspected in their existence. Green islands, oases of beauty and tranquility, hidden behind magnificent palaces on the Grand Canal, behind gates or front doors along the small, quite channels, where no stranger could ever get lost. There are gardens of various kinds, gardens of the Nobili, enchanted gardens of artist, old monastery gardens, the garden of Peggy Guggenheim or an allotment of a gondolier.

In early times Venice was the queen of gardens, because here there were so many botanical gardens as in whole Italy. But not all the gardens of the lagoon city were botanical gardens. The gardens of wealthy Venetian patricians were very expensive in investment and maintenance, therefore they were naturally inaccessible for the public. They were mainly served the pleasures of the rich, who dont wanted to be disturbed by anything, not even by glances, that’s why their gardens were surrounded by meter-high walls. Even then these exquisite locations were  special attractions of the lagoon city.

Today  in Venice there aren’t as many gardens as 200 years ago; many of the monasteries, the botany and private gardens have disappeared due to lack of space. But some are still hidden from the gaze of curious passengers behind high walls. Much more of green area lies on the surrounded islands in the lagoon, e.g. in Lido, Torcello, Sant Erasmo etc.

For many a visit of a Venetian garden is a new experience and a must for a Venice trip. It is recommend to take part in the numerous tours offered by many organisations. While the Venice Biennale takes place one can visit during the the exhibition gardens of Venice, called Giardini, in the quite Castello zone and find some gardens, which are usualy  inaccessible for tourists.


A look behind a Venetian wall is always worthwhile …. .




Exterior of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy, 1990


Some of those stunning Venetian Gardens are shown in the ARD documentation in beautiful images:


Text und Image © ARD. Venicefirst.