Around Nardò, an area known for its baroque, eclectic villas, a farm estate combines agricultural output with a delightful and unusual garden of statues.
The garden’s place name most likely derives from a shrub once used to brush horses; in Salento dialect, brusca means “grooming brush”. The farm buildings cluster around a 16th-century tower that, in the early 18th century, the Dell’Abbate family expanded, adding a Baroque-style facies, a chapel accessible from the residence, and gateways to access the garden’s various “themed” enclosures on either side of the 18th-century chapel: an orchard, almond grove with a dovecote tower, a “Garden of Statues” and a “Bee Garden”. Accessed through an elegant concave gateway, art and vegetation combine in perfect synthesis in the “Garden of Statues”. Where the avenues intersect around a well, interspersed with stone seating, twelve statues and busts are arranged in a quarter circle in groups of three: a statue of America between busts of Vertumnus and Pomona, Africa between Diana and Silvanus, Asia between Ceres and Bacchus, and Europa between Flora and Faun. Carpets of acanthus and periwinkle characterize this enclosed space; blue plumbago blooms provide a mellowing influence; and euphorbias, yuccas, and phoenixes lend an exotic touch. The Zuccaro family redesigned the garden at the beginning of the twentieth century; at the time, the fruit trees from the 18th-century layout were replaced by an ornamental botanical repertoire.
The "Statue Garden"
When you sit among the busts and statues, one has the distinct impression of being in a theatre, of conversing with the agricultural, sylvan and pastoral divinities and with the statues of the four continents. The avenues end in three niches with mixtilinear arches, with family coats of arms on the pediment.
A particularly elaborate, concave access gateway to the “Garden of Statues”, with its richly-decorated frieze, and the access gateway to the “Bee Garden”, set off by pilasters and a fastigium with pinnacles, in this significant example of “rural Baroque”.
Dedicated to the Immaculate, it serves as a palatine chapel, and is also accessible from inside the house. The baroque facade is characterized by the unusual presence of “free” columns, well-detached from the walls, and a small bell gable, rotated in the direction of the approach to the farmhouse from the driveway.
The Dining Room
Decorated during the 19th century with an illusionistic pergola, the walls bring the theme of the garden right into the house. It features some furniture and furnishings in miniaturized form, designed for a model of the farm in the Garden of Statues.