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GSSG Committee members visit the

Secret Gardens of Bologna in May 2018

Seven members of the Bristol Green Squares and Secret Gardens committee travelled to Bologna recently to see the Italian city’s open garden event.

 ‘Diverdeinverde’ was spread over three days from the afternoon of Friday 18th to the evening of Sunday 20th May.

The group met Sylvia Cuttin who is one of the Italian event organisers and she very kindly provided us with a list of the ‘Must see’ gardens.

This was the fifth year of Diverdeinverde and the weather was perfect.

For those of you who don’t know Bologna, it is a beautiful, historic city full of large impressive-looking palaces painted in different shades of terracotta which have been converted into apartment communities. It is known as “La Rossa” (the red one). The old centre dates from the 16th century. The streets are narrow and cobbled but just out of the centre, the streets widen and are paved. All the streets are covered by porticos which are constructed as open archways decorated with trompe l’oeil or painted frescos. There are 25 miles of porticos which afford shade from the sun and shelter from the rain.

There were fifty gardens open over the three days at various times with half of them located in the centre of the city and old town and we managed to visit twenty-seven of them over three days. Most were in large former palaces with huge, impressive entrances through ornate wrought iron gates which lead the visitor through a long marble- floored corridor, past an inner courtyard garden and out through another enormous ornamental gate into the main communal garden. Each garden entrance was manned by volunteers wearing bright green T-shirts making them easy to spot from a distance – very useful for visitors to the city like us. Several of the gardens had tortoises roaming freely and the smell of Jasmine was everywhere as each garden had an arbour of Jasmine or it grew freely scrambling over the walls. Large Magnolia trees, fir trees, oleander, climbing roses, clematis, hydrangea, peonies, sculptures and water features are all typical elements in the Bolognese gardens. The planting style was different to the UK with more shrubs and less flowers and the overall effect was green, cool and shady. We saw very few lawns and the few we did see were immaculate.

Why not visit the Diverdeinverde website on our links page? Here are some  photos of our visit.

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them".

 Henri Matisse

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