Orto Botanico or the Botanic Garden of Padova is just off busy plaza Prato Della Valle. Tucked away from busy roads even in 27C heat, here it is cool in the shade. It’s perfect for a jet-lag nod-off on one of the benches.
Focused on rare plants in the Veneto region of Italy, the garden dates from 1545 and is one of the oldest botanic gardens still in existence.
Orto Botanico is laid out in a circle divided into 4 pie slices centered around a lotus pond with fountain.
Eighteenth century stone hothouses flank one side of the garden.
The skylights in the stone roof lend a wistful air to the hothouses.
Inside, tender sprouts prepare for an outdoor life.
While the long buildings include one octagonal hothouse more than 3 stories high that protects a 350-year-old date palm, outside the flowers that I recognize don’t look that rare or that old. Artichokes, purple coneflower, a datura, a clematis are all familiar.
However, in the aquatic and carnivorous plants section I’m quickly out of my depth.
The history of things that were and are no more shows up in the architecture.
The things that are available now but were not in 1545 look out-of-place but covered in what looks like grime, they fit right in.
I started photographing the garden using HDR. However, I quickly switched to the Hipstamatic Diego (lens) and Robusta (film) because of the patina and border they added. The borders look like the stone edging that surrounds each plant even in the hothouses. The patina shifts emphasis away from a correct rendering of a beautiful flower to the age of the garden and its focus on plants of the past.
Next up: Scenes from Padova Italy, Part 2
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