Les jardins du Pape à Rome et à Castel Gandolfo by Alberta CAMPITELLI – Château de Bénouville

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Les jardins du Pape à Rome et à Castel Gandolfo by Alberta CAMPITELLI – Château de Bénouville

The Papal gardens of Rome and Castel Gandolfo

The garden located next to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Papal Palace is the oldest garden in Rome, of which documented proof dates back to the 13th century. A number of Popes have left their mark there, by extending it or by creating new flower beds. In truth, more than just one garden, it is preferable to refer to the gardens of the Vatican, a group of distinct gardens, often with no link between them. They reached their peak in the 16th and 17th centuries, when highly valuable flower species were introduced, often from the Americas, along with magnificent fountains, created by artists such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Unfortunately, these gardens suffered extensive transformation after 1929, the year a concordat was signed between the Italian State and the Church, and very few vestiges now remain of previous arrangements.  The 17th century Castel Gandolfo gardens surround the Pope’s summer residence and offer spectacular views over Lake Albano.

Alberta Campitelli

Alberta Campitelli is an art historian and acted as director of the Historic parks and villas of Rome, in charge of the conservation of 42 ensembles comprising villas, public promenades and historic gardens. She has also directed the restoration of gardens and buildings, in particular Villa Borghese and Villa Torlonia, both now cultural and leisure sites with museums, exhibition areas and surrounded with gardens adorned with statues and fountains. She has published a number of books and scientific articles, and has organised exhibitions and international colloquiums. She has lectured in several Italian and foreign universities and has taken part in a number of conferences. Alberta Campitelli is vice president of the APGI (Italian Association of Parks and Gardens), which operates in partnership with the Ministry for cultural heritage and tourism; she is also a consultant member of ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites. In 2013, she was awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of Arts and Letters) by the French Ministry for Culture.