11 April 2020 Armando Pizzoni Ardemani

The Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio was brought to its contemporary magnificence in the second half of the seventeenth century, under the then-ownership of the Barbarigo – a wealthy and powerful noble family from Venice.

Gregorio Barbarigo (1625-1697) enlisted renowned Vatican architect Luigi Bernini (brother of Gian Lorenzo) to create the design and plan for the garden. This was in honour of a holy vow made by his father, Zuane Francesco Barbarigo, that should his family and the area around Valsanzibio be spared from the plague, he would create a ‘masterpiece’ to commemorate and glorify the might of God.

Unfortunately Zuane Francesco died before seeing his vow fulfilled, but true to his original promise, Bernini and Gregorio’s creation is considered among Italy’s most culturally significant sites, and is officially recognised as one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe.

Today, the original reasons for why the garden was created – as a refuge from the plague, and as a place of spiritual salvation – are more pertinent than ever, as like the Barbarigo hundreds of years ago, we have all found our way of life threatened by disease.

However, through the centuries since its creation, the Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio’s messages of hope and perseverance have endured.

In recent years the preservation of our garden has relied on the patronage of guests. In normal circumstances we are open seven days a week, from early February until December. The Pizzoni Ardemani family, who as the current owners and custodians of the Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio, have endeavoured tirelessly to ensure visitors are able to enjoy the garden without the support of the state, or private organisations.

In this undertaking, much of the originality of Bernini’s creation has been preserved. However, at this moment in time, we are challenged in ensuring the upkeep of the Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio without visitors, and worry what the coming weeks and months will bring; as we progress through spring, and approach summer, the work and costs required to maintain the garden continue, and unlike many businesses, cannot be paused.

Amoung the many worries this brings, we are currently faced with a particular challenge in sustaining the fight to preserve and maintain one of our most unique features; our 60000 square metres of boxwood plants. Our garden is home to the world’s oldest and tallest examples, as well as the highest concentration of boxwood found anywhere. The plants are under attack from a new non-native parasite which has decimated boxwoods across Europe in recent years.

We deploy natural and historic methods, without the use of pesticides to safely and effectively care for our boxwoods. But this year we fear losing this fight without your support.

We are asking those in a position to do so to consider buying a ticket to visit our garden via our online ticket portal – any purchases made now will be valid until December 8th 2020, for one visit per ticket, so you may come to our garden whenever possible, and at your convenience.

Like normal, all proceeds of all ticket sales will be used to fund the preservation of our precious boxwoods and the wider garden.

By purchasing the ticket online you can come and visit us during the regular visiting time whenever  you want until Tuesday December 8th 2020.  Please, if possible, we ask you to confirm your visit a few days in advance, in order to ensure the best welcome (confirmations either by email – info @ – or by phone +39/340/0825844).

If you are not in a position to visit us this year, or would like to support us in other ways, you can become a patron of the Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio by making a donation via PayPal (button below).

All patrons who donate over 50€ will be invited to an exclusive event at our garden in 2021, where we will collectively celebrate the continuation and preservation of the Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio, and it’s messages of hope and salvation in these challenging times.