What it is and where it is
A fascinating expression of Baroque culture, the Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio is a microcosm of perfect geometry that covers more than ten hectares. Here, among century-old plants and rare species, a pathway of high symbolic and allegorical value unfolds, designed by box hedges, statues, water jokes, fountains and streams. The Garden was awarded the first prize as the most beautiful in Italy in 2003 and the third as the most beautiful in Europe in 2007. It is part of the Literary Parks circuit.
Why it is special
The artistic garden has always been meant to be a place "other" than the reality that passes by it: a serene and harmonious environment, sheltered from any triviality. The Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio respects the ancient matrix, but proposes a nobler purpose: in fact, natural and architectural elements trace a real "path of Salvation." The stages of the path (the statue of Kronos, the labyrinth, the island of rabbits... ) induce us to meditate on the meaning of our earthly time and accompany us toward a state of greater awareness and thus liberation from sin toward salvation. An initiatory journey of extraordinary beauty.
Not to be missed
In the Garden of Valsanzibio, the boxwood labyrinth was created to represent the relentless search for inner truth and the need for individual evolution. Six thousand boxwood shrubs, most of them centuries old, mark a path almost a mile long, where it is easy to get lost. Forks and four-legged paths force us to continually make choices, to avoid dead ends and apparent shortcuts (deadly vices and sins) and often make us retrace our steps. Only once we reach the central observatory will we have a clear view, from above, of the luminous reality that opens beyond the maze of human weaknesses. Not to be missed.
A bit of history
The Garden was built between 1665 and 1696. The tragic plague epidemic that had struck northern Italy in those years prompted Venetian nobleman Zuane Francesco Barbarigo to make a solemn vow: he would create a grandiose work to glorify the magnificence of God if his family survived the contagion. Zuane, with the help of his sons, kept his promise and entrusted the commission to the papal architect and fountainmaker Luigi Bernini. It was the eldest son, Cardinal Gregorio Barbarigo (destined to become a bishop and later a saint) who transformed the garden designed by Bernini into a metaphor for a path to perfection and salvation.
The Fountain of the Iris, or of the Rainbow, owes its name to the fact that its central jet is struck simultaneously by four spouts, so that from whichever side you look at it, it reveals the colors of the rainbow.
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