Photo: by Roberto Marinello
Classical Italian gardens are usually formal and constructed symmetrically with intersecting pathways, a central fountain and clipped topiaries and hedges. Containers and statues may be used and repeated, as focal points. This style can be adapted to both large and small gardens and the simplicity and structure has a soothing effect on the viewer’s senses.
A romantic country villa garden in Italy, however, is usually much less formal. There is less obvious structure and a feeling of lushness and abundance created by pergolas covered with flowering vines, the sound of water, hidden alcoves and fern-filled grottos.
Another variation on the Italian style is the Tuscan garden where there is a mix of classical and country elements: the obligatory mulberry tree, a wildflower meadow with poppies and mustard, kitchen areas overflowing with vegetables and herbs, and picturesque pots of flowering plants, usually drought resistant varieties. There is frequently more variety and informality in the hardscape – for example, the inclusion of raised beds and trellises and stepping stones.
Like all gardens, Italian gardens have evolved over centuries and continue to evolve, but there is almost always some sort of organizing structure that characterizes the design.