The exhibition of my pictures on the ‘giardino della Cupa’ in Perugia, Umbria, was taking place yesterday. The opening was scheduled early evening after a day of meetings to present the results of the work by the ‘Associazione Porcinai’. A visit of the place was organized for some 80 people and ended at the exhibition.

I shown the pictures on the Etruscan wall in the garden. It was the first time I was putting my work on a display even older than the Roman empire! Lizards were running around the prints as well as ants and other insects which gave me the feeling that my pictures were welcomed in the garden.

Anna Porcinai, the daughter of Pietro Porcinai was my first visitor and I had also a long chat with a close collaborator of the architect. At the last moment, I was asked to do a speech: I talked about the spirit of the garden which is still there, despite the fact that the place is in a terrible state.

Let’s hope authorities will follow the draft of the Associazione Porcinai’s ‘Laboratorio Cuparella’ to renovate and save the garden…

The gardeners who cut the grass before the exhibition:

Shadows were moving in the afternoon before the show

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As part of the Milan men’s fashion week that I am covering, I went yesterday evening to the presentation of Italian designer Massimo Alba in the Orto Botanico of Brera, a very old edible garden. The Orto Botanico is like an island surrounded by buildings as it is located right in the centre of the city.

Massimo Alba’s spring-summer 2012 collection was displayed in the garden like scarecrows or hanged on fences or on drying lines. Musicians from La Scala academy were playing violin, oboe or trombone in several areas. Candles were lit as the sun was slowly leaving the garden…

Nice to be away from the madness of the catwalks for a while!

I am in Milan to cover the fashion week and my friends Dominique, Mauro and Gildas took me yesterday evening to see a performance by fashion designer Antonio Marras. The event was organized in the Bramante’s cloister and sacresty of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Actress Marisa Berenson, like an icon or a virgin, was emerging from a three or four-meter-high dress made of Sardegna’s costumes. The sacresty, where I had never been, shows wonderful renaissance paintings of religious scenes with gardens and landscapes. I like so much the extraordinary and delicate light of these Italian Renaissance period’s paintings which are a great source of inspiration for my garden pictures. Outside, in the cloister, young women where walking around wearing long white dresses while harpists were playing…

I didn’t have a camera with me, but I managed to take a couple pictures with my phone.

As part as an extensive project on XXth century Italian master Pietro Porcinai, I went this week to take pictures of two gardens he designed in the 1950/60 at lake Como. One of them is beautifully maintained and very few things were changed over the years thanks to the family who owns it and to the man who looks after it. It is a very private garden and it seems that only a very few pictures were shown since it was built.

The more I take pictures of Porcinai’s gardens, the more I like the way he was mixing trees and plants with very subtle colors and how light and delicate his gardens look like.

 

I went to the ‘national gallery of modern art’ on Saturday and it was the first time since I am in Rome that I saw the hedges of Villa Borghese freshly trimmed. The light was really nice, so I walked around and took a few pictures…

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday evening, when taking pictures, I understood why I like gardens at night:

My grandparents had their house built after World War II on the outskirts of a small French town. It was very simple, there was not even a bathroom or toilets inside when I was a child in the seventies. The vegetables cooked by my grandmother were coming from the edible garden. We also had cherries, apricots, peaches and plums in the summer, walnuts, apples and pears at fall. When I was staying there, which was very often, I was spending most of my time playing in the wild part of the garden.

In the evenings, before I was going to bed, my grandfather was taking me to the toilets he had built at the back of the garden. During summer, it was dusk and I could see strange shapes moving in the trees, I could smell the strong scent of flowers and look at the stars shining in the sky. During winter, it was really dark and my grandfather was lighting the path with his small flashlight while holding my hand. I was frightened by many strange noises, by branches which were moving with the wind. Sometimes, he was lighting up a tree with the ray of light, bringing suddenly colors to the dark night. I was discovering a very different garden from the one I knew at daytime. It was a world of secrets, darkness, a garden of very bright colors unveiled on a deep black sky without stars, a place of wonders.

I like taking photos of gardens at night. It brings me back to my childhood.

My Rome’s garden at night:

Sheppard Craige’s Bosco della Ragnaia in Tuscany :