The Giardino Giusti, Verona, is said to be one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy. It is a classic Renaissance garden perched on a hillside, with breath-taking views of the city. Its statues, fountains and historic maze have attracted tourists for centuries. But why is this garden so important, and why should you visit?
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A Historic Renaissance Garden
The history of the Giardino Giusti goes back to 1406. This was when Provolo Giusti bought a piece of land beside the ancient Via Postumia, close to the Verona city walls, for his wool-dyeing business. 200 years later his descendant, Agostino Giusti, decided to use the site for an entirely different purpose.
Agostino was a well connected patron of the arts and a Knight of the Venetian Republic. His idea was to build an elegant palazzo with formal gardens, laid out in the High Renaissance style. Based on classical ideals, this type of design was very popular at the time, and can be seen elsewhere in the famous Medici Villas of Tuscany.
Changes were made to the garden in the 19th century and it was badly damaged during the Second World War. However recent work has restored it closer to Agostino Giusti’s original vision.
A Stop On The Grand Tour
The Giardino Giusti has always been open to the public. Given its grandeur, and the connections of its founder, it is perhaps not surprising that it immediately attracted visitors from throughout Europe, including several heads of state.
The garden later became a well known stop on the Grand Tour (the custom that arose in the 17th century of wealthy young men taking a lengthy trip around Europe). Notable visitors included Mozart, John Ruskin and the Habsburg Emperor Joseph II. The poet Goethe was particularly inspired by the garden and by its magnificent cypress trees.
Exploring The Giardino Giusti
The Giardino Giusti occupies two hillside terraces. The lower garden is of a geometric design, with a series of square, symmetrical sections separated by hedges. A central path is lined by the cypresses that Goethe so admired.
Throughout the garden you will find the elements of 16th century design, including statues of mythological figures, fountains and plants in pots. The space is laid out to provide a variety of moods: light and shade; nature and formality; open spaces and hidden corners. It is easy to find a secluded spot to stop for a peaceful moment.
The Best View Of Verona
Particular features of the lower garden include the maze – said to be one of the oldest in Europe – and the grottoes. You’ll even find some Roman remains!
Follow the path upwards and you will come to the belvedere. Here a stone stairway leads to the very top of the garden, and to one of the best views across the city of Verona.
The 20th Century Apartment
The Giusti family continued to live in the palazzo until it was destroyed in the War. Today their home, known as the 20th Century Apartment (Appartamento 900) has been restored and is open to visitors. It is decorated as it would have been when the family lived there, and you can admire the grand furnishings, the family portraits, and the frescoes of the Aurora Room.
How To Visit The Giardino Giusti
The Giardino Giusti is a 20 minute walk from the Verona Arena. It is also a stop on the City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off Bus.
You can buy tickets for the garden and palazzo online in advance.
Parts of the Giardino Giusti are wheelchair accessible. However it is necessary to walk up a slope and climb steps to reach the viewpoint.