This 15 acre garden is located within the walls of a medieval hilltop village in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains, an hour's drive from Rome. Work here began in 1995 at the same time as Gae Aulenti, (architect of the Musée ‘d’Orsay) began the restoration of the buildings to provide living accommodation.
The client wanted a garden that was a contrast and antidote to the southern Italian heat, with no colour to be used apart from cooling whites and blues. A garden that at one moment was all about restraint, and the next, a fecund, rustic romance, not unlike a Poussin painting, planted to give the impression of a wild garden lost to nature.
The shade terraces are essential, and perfumed wherever possible, with white wisteria and jasmine close to the living areas. As you move away from the house the seating areas become progressively more rustic, with wild rambling roses over simple bowers, and self-sown foxgloves.
A rill snakes through the garden down a ravine planted with white water iris, arum lilies and gunnera. At the bottom a river of Iris japonica spills down an old track to envelop a pond surrounded by weeping cherries.
20 ancient pomegranates were chosen to frame the entrance courtyard, and huge camphor trees close over the approach as you enter through the castle walls.
Everything was chosen to feel right in the place, close to nature, and never overly ornamental. A white Judas tree walk is underplanted with blue lacecap hydrangeas, while scented ornamental Viburnum are planted close to the wild Viburnum tinus in the margins. Wild Banksian roses, smelling of violets in April, and more wisteria, are allowed to festoon the castle walls, clambering 60ft to cascade back down again.
1995 - 2008
Client: Carlo Carracciolo & Violante Visconti