Padua’s Botanical gardens

Padua, a university town in Italy, is not far from Venice.

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Basilica di Santa Guistina and in the foreground the new greenhouses of the Botanical Gardens of Padua

We visited Padua for a few nights, and had the good fortune to book into the most hospitable hotel we have ever stayed in..  Andrea and her lovely staff gave us suggestions on where to go, where to eat, and tips on Italian phrases… nothing was too much trouble…(I wish I had taken a photo of them). Breakfast was a treat! The name is …Hotel Belludi 37

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We also had a chance to see the Botanical gardens in Padua. It is the world’s oldest university garden of its kind. It was founded so that students could research and recognise medicinal plants.

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The morning we visited the garden, it was just recovering from a heavy storm the night before. However, the old garden layout is much the same as it was in its founding days of 1545.

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This map shows the plan of the garden, the plants are divided by category in beds organised into geometric shapes. There are, rare and endangered, poisonous plants, and medicinal plants and an Alpine rockery

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The greenhouse on the right hand side of the previous photo holds Goethe’s Palm, planted in 1585.

The Saint Peter’s palm (chamaerops humilis) inspired the German poet to write theories on nature in his Metamorphosis of Plants.

It was impossible to get a photo of the whole palm tree while standing inside the temperature controlled greenhouse.

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Nonetheless, it was a very humbling moment to stand beside a tree that has continued to grow through so much history, and still survives.

To think Elizabeth 1 was on the throne at this time, and Sir Francis Raleigh was sailing around looking for colonies!

IMG_2887 (1024x746)The gardens were founded by the Venetian Republic, and exotic plants were brought from countries that traded with Venice.

IMG_1857 (1024x765) (1024x765)The design of this very old garden is still very easy to see and follow.

IMG_2912 (1024x768)This Ginkgo Biloba tree dates back to the mid 18th century, and is considered to be the oldest specimen in Europe

IMG_2942 (1024x824)The gardens have new greenhouses, which run on solar and water-power. These gardens are designed to take us on a journey through the Earth’s climate zones and for us to see how plants have adapted to their various habitats.

IMG_2941 (1024x810)The trail in the Greenhouse has five parts, a tropical rainforest, a sub-humid tropical rainforest, and temperate, Mediterranean and arid regions..

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Renanthera Coccinea

This plant (a type of orchid) was almost covering one of the entrance doors…I have never seen anything quite like it.

If you ever get to Padua, I would suggest allowing yourself two days for these gardens, because the three greenhouses were packed with wonderful and diverse plants (as you can imagine)

We were almost overwhelmed by the amount of treasures just in the greenhouses alone..

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The Botanic gardens of Padua have been Unesco World Heritage listed (1997) for its exceptional universal value in the birth of science. It has, and continues to contribute, to modern science, botany, medicine, chemistry, ecology, and pharmacy.

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In the very turbulent world we have today, I take heart from the amount of school children we’ve seen on excursions to places like the ancient Padua Botanical gardens. These gardens are showing children our history, some of the wonders of the world, and the positive contribution that has been made to our world over time.

Salute to the teachers and parents who take children to such places. My next Prosecco will be a toast to all of you!

Copyright Geraldine  Mackey. All rights reserved.






18 Replies to “Padua’s Botanical gardens”

  1. Great to see the new greenhouses; I been wanting to visit them since they opened. Padua is one of my favourite Italian towns. Do tell us the name of the hotel.

    1. Yes, we didn’t have any particular expectations of Padua, and it is a lovely small city, and easy to get around walking, tram, train, or watching all the people on bikes! (and very good food with the hotel guides) I’m glad you reminded me of the name of the hotel it is
      Hotel Belludi 37.
      Thanks for the comment. The new greenhouses are amazing.

  2. Well done Gerrie. The Padua Gardens can go on the “to see” list and good to see it has been able to retain the old and add new elements harmoniously. Love the last comment younger folk taking an interest.

    1. Thanks Ross, glad you liked it. It was amazing to see such an old garden, not to mention trees, still standing and flourishing. Re the young kids, I have to confess, as you would know, excursions are often not too much fun for the teacher….but essential for them to see this kind of place..

  3. How utterly delightful! Thank you for taking us on this wonderful tour! Travel envy for sure, as I am tethered to this garden until November…Diane

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the tour Diane, it is a wonderful place to see. Have you been affected by floods this summer?

  4. What fascinating gardens, Gerrie. Those old trees are real survivors. How wonderful that they’re still doing so well. I hope you hugged them. 🙂

    1. Well, I gave them a virtual hug! Another big tree had been stuck by lightning, but still survives. An amazing place all round.

  5. I can remember being taught in a Botany class that Padua had the first botanical garden.
    I will never get there to see it – so thank you for a much enjoyed tour.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think for anyone interested in plants and botany, it is a wonderful place to visit.

  6. What a beautiful and fascinating garden. I like the mix of Renaissance and modern elements. And if we are ever lucky enough to visit Padua, we will remember that hotel!

    1. It was a thrill to be able to see such a wonderful old garden, especially coming from a youthful country like Australia! Glad you enjoyed the gardens.

  7. What a fascinating place, I can see why you suggest viewing it over a few days. How wonderful it maus have been visiting somewhere so old with such history. That palm is just astonishing, you would never guess it was that old, it certainly is thriving. I too salute the teachers. Glad you found somewhere so hospitable to stay!xxx

    1. Yes, it is nice to be able to share such a unique place. What a pity the palm tree that old couldn’t talk!

  8. I love your new header it’s a fantastic view! This is a fascinating garden it must have been amazing standing under that ancient tree! The orchid was an incredible sight too! Sarah x

    1. Thanks Sarah, I’ve wanted to use that photo for a while for the header (taken last year) but always feel nervous about fiddling with headers etc on the blog! Yes, that was an amazing garden, and the trees older than settlement in Australia.

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