The Project

Garden Route Italia is the project for the enhancement of Italian gardens promoted by APGI, the Italian Gardens and Parks Association.

For centuries, Italy has been defined the Garden of Europe due to the beauty of its landscapes studded with villas, castles and gardens and stemming from a harmonious interaction between man and nature. Gardens are the emblems of this balance and true gems of this country’s heritage, revealing the inseparable connection between architecture and nature, one of the defining qualities of Italian culture.


Garden Route is a project that sets out to relaunch the cultural and touristic fruition of Italian parks and gardens also in their relation with the surrounding landscape. Italian gardens create a connection between architecture and landscape, between nature and culture, between monumental heritage and productive realities. This is the reason why gardens play a strategic role in the promotion of a widespread form of tourism, capable of activating a virtuous cycle of local regeneration. Objectives of the Garden Route project include:

  • Contribute to the sustainable and harmonious development of the territories through a wider participation of local stakeholders
  • Spread knowledge about lesser-known places in Italy, encouraging the recovery of a more balanced form of tourism
  • Provide a smart form of cultural enhancement promoting heritage care and preservation, towards a respectful approach and good maintenance practices
  • Provide a national and integrated framework of an otherwise fragmented offer
  • Increase knowledge about sites, activities and experiences, favouring the creation of qualified job positions

In addition, in keeping with the objectives of APGI, the Italian Gardens and Parks Association, this project sets out to share with an increasingly wider audience knowledge about garden culture and those themes associated with it.

  • For local communities, gardens should increasingly become familiar places and not simply sites to be visited occasionally. Places where a pleasant visit might lead to joining continuing education initiatives on subjects such as art, botany, sustainability, enjoying the cycle of the seasons and learning about the natural characteristics and productions of the area; gardens and parks should become places where a local community may grow and consolidate its sense of identity and belonging.
  • For everyone – locals and tourists a visit to a park or a garden should provide a valuable occasion to expand knowledge about the core aspects of our civilization. In the tradition of great Italian villas, formal gardens are almost regularly paired with a pars utitlitaria – a vegetable garden or an orchard – and to a larger-scale area dedicated to agricultural production. Aesthetics and economy, landscape creation and administration of the territory have historically represented inseparable aspects of one same culture.

A selection based on quality

Garden Route aims at establishing a certification system that may assure a certain level of quality to visitors, as well as fostering a progressive growth in hospitality culture, maintenance standards and in the level of cultural offer and services. Here follows a list of factors considered in selecting the gardens included in the Garden Route project:

  • A garden’s historic, artistic and botanic interest and relevance
  • The level of integrity of the relation between the garden and its surrounding landscape
  • High-standard hospitality, accessibility and services
  • Quality and eco-friendly care and maintenance practices
  • Consistency with the themes and itineraries illustrated on the website

The website, whose completion is due in Spring 2021, is a portal providing direct and flexible contents, activities and experience suggestions connected to the world of Italian gardens (historic, contemporary, botanic, amateur, etc.) The main feature of the portal are its thematic and topographical itineraries, which in their layout and structure also take into account seasonal changes and the quality of the surrounding landscape. Yet has been designed to be more than a simple showcase of itineraries, and rather as a “network” that once fully operational will link the itineraries with the areas’ cultural offer and services. In its first draft, the website will feature over 200 gardens and 30 itineraries.


Concept and scientific coordination:
Alberta Campitelli, Vincenzo Cazzato, Giuseppe La Mastra

With the collaboration of:: Elvira Addonizio, Margherita Azzi Visentini, Giuseppe Barbera, Alberta Campitelli, Lucina Caravaggi, Vincenzo Cazzato, Anna Coccioli Mastroviti, Paolo Cornaglia, Alessandro Cremona, Mariapia Cunico, Chiara Devoti, Marcello Fagiolo, Marco Ferrari, Federico Fontana, Giorgio Galletti, Patrizio Giulini, Maria Adriana Giusti, Fabio Ippolito, Giuseppe La Mastra, Renata Lodari, Maria Luisa Margiotta, Eliana Mauro, Francesca Mazzino, Franco Panzini, Alessandro Pasetti Medin, Laura Sabrina Pelissetti, Antonella Pietrogrande, Filippo Pizzoni, Ettore Sessa, Antonino Soddu Pirellas, Mariachiara Pozzana, Giuseppe Rallo, Sofia Varoli Piazza, Francesca Venuto

Other contributors include: Nicoletta Amateis, Francesca Bagliani, Mirna Colpo, Silvia Angeli, Elia Barone, Alberta Cazzani, Martina Marchesi, Cristina Puricelli, Agnese Visconti, Carlotta Maria Zerbi, Sandro Santolini, Laura Donati, Alice Silvia Legè, Carlotta Loverini Botta

Editorial staff:
Maria Rita D’Angelo, with the collaboration of Francesca Romana Spagnoli, Alice Pagliccia, Sofia Francesca Micciché

Download the press release

Find out more about APGI, the Italian Gardens and Parks Association