Urbino – Orto botanico di Urbino (Botanic Garden of Urbino)


The Botanic Garden of Urbino was founded in 1809, when one of the three vegetable gardens of the Minor Friars of the St. Francis convent, confiscated and turned into a property of the Municipality after the fall of the papal reign, was entrusted to Professor De Brignoli, who was asked to turn it into a botanic garden. A man rich with remarkable scientific abilities and a great culture, he rapidly succeeded in this task thanks to the help of other Italian botanic gardens, and especially to the support of count Giovanni Scopoli, the General Director of the Kingdom of Italy and a lover of botanic science. In 1844 the Garden was given in perpetual lease to the University and is therefore, nowadays, an institution of the “Carlo Bo”University of Urbino.

The Botanic Garden consists of three sloping terracings placed along the side of the hill where the city of Urbino rises. The first wide terracing was completely restructured and modified in the early years of the XX century and is embellished, at the centre, by a little basin hosting some aquatic species. From this spot the long and imposing stairway can be admired, that leads to the main entrance to the Garden and to the greenhouse created in 1913 by De Brignoli, where all plants that cannot stand the winter cold are stored, and only in the summertime are placed along the walkways and on the flowerbeds of the garden.

The whole space is used to cultivate and study medicinal plants (the “simples”) placed into thirteen flowerbeds bordered with boxwood and grouped according to their properties, and consequently according to the use they are meant for.

From the “Garden of simples”a few steps, sided by little basins, introduce to the second terracing. On its right side stands and old wrought-iron pump, a work of artisan Quinto Galvani (1849). Since the beginning,  the whole area was divided into long and narrow rectangular flowerbeds delimiting little paths. The disposition of grassy shrub species, originally made according to the Linnaean system, was later modified according to the needs of cultivation and to the local climate.

Four further steps lead to the last terracing, which is also organized like the second one. Between the flowerbeds there are a Taxus baccata L., an imposing Fagus sylvatica L. and a Liriodendron tulipifera L., dating back to the time when the Garden was founded. This last terracing ends with the surrounding wall where, in the summertime, a part of the succulent plant collection is placed.


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