The refined lines of a small secret garden, arranged to a formal “Italian” template, frames the southern elevation of the villa; the white facades and the accompanying decorative stone elements stand out against the green Friuli countryside, taking us on a journey to a kinder, more harmonious past.

The estate of the de Claricini nobles, run today by the Foundation that bears their name, is located in the small rural village of Bottenicco. The manor house – a style popular in Friuli in the modern age – stands behind a high wall in the very heart of the village. Designed in an old-fashioned style by Count Nicolò, a scholar and art lover who inherited the estate and restored the house and the green area in the late 1910s, the many years of patrician management is evident in the refined formal design of the south-facing garden. In concert with engineer Ernesto de Paciani, Nicolò chose to decorate this part of the property with sculptural ornaments. This process continued after the First World War, all the way through to the late Thirties, staying true to the great tradition of “Italian gardens” much in vogue at that time. Today, the upper floors of the residence look out over the linear arabesques of boxwood and topiary plants facing its facade, alternated with sculptural pillars, statues and fountains set within a concrete balustrade, and a smattering of terracotta vases. On the far side of the balustrade, an English-style park dates back to the same period, featuring a number of tall trees, first among equals an imposing red beech.