If you like gardens, jogging early morning in Villa Borghese is really nice. As I live nearby, I go there once or twice a week. Trees without leaves don’t last too long in Rome and combined with winter light,  I have the feeling during a few weeks that I could be anywhere in Paris or London.

No, it is not true :  you can’t find any fountain in these cities like my favourite one at Villa Borghese. Compared to many other fountains of the garden, it is a simple one. It seems to be a perfect circle when seen from far away, but when you get close to it, you discover that it is a is a beautiful oval fountain. And its sound is absolutely gorgeous.

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I am following since November the work of the heritage group “Associazione Porcinai” on the 1948’s “Giardino della Cupa” by Pietro Porcinai, probably the most outstanding Italian landscape architect of the 20th century. The public garden, located in Perugia, Umbria, is almost abandoned for years and the “associazione Porcinai” and local authorities are organizing working groups to find a satisfying way for all to renovate it.  It is the first experience of this kind for an Italian garden so I am very happy to take part in it.

La Cupa is a very dark garden (cupo means darkness in Italian), located at the bottom of the Etruscan wall of the city, but has a more sunny side with very old olive trees. Fortunately, some of the original benches as well as a fountain designed by Porcinai have been saved.

Villa Strohl Fern

January 25, 2011

First shoot three days ago at the “Villa Strohl Fern” in Rome to prepare an exhibition that will take place in the garden in May.  The villa, part of the “Villa Borghese” was during the early 20th century an important centre for artists for whom Baron Strohl built studios. Given to the French state after Strohl’s death, it now host the Lycee Chateaubriand. I knew the huge place, but this is the first time I could go into the private area at the back of the park, which is abandoned and absolutely incredible with its false grottos and ruins. There is even a concrete tree made by one of the artists… Film maker Vittorio De Sica also used the tennis court for his film “The garden of the Finzi-Continis” in the 1970s.  I will go back for more pictures (with better light I hope) in the next months.

Bosco della Ragnaia

January 24, 2011

I went late December to catch the very early morning winter light at the ‘Bosco della Ragnaia’ in Toscana. It was the second time I was visiting this beautiful and very special garden. I spent the evening with its gardener, American artist Sheppard Craige, had a long chat with him about Louis XIV and the making of the garden of Versailles, while eating a Lasagna with white truffles, a speciality of the village. Sheppard is a former landscape painter, now designing a nine-hectare wood and field garden as his masterpiece, far away from any trends. If you go to Toscana, make a stop at the Bosco, this is such an incredible place.

Auguri!

January 24, 2011

Four pictures of a Mulberry tree in Umbria to wish you a Happy 2011.