Elegant Padova -- known in English as Padua -- is home to an ancient university, a Basilica that is an important centre for pilgrims and a chapel containing one of the world’s greatest art treasures. Use this website to help you plan a visit to this fascinating northern Italian city and find your way to the other beautiful towns and villages in the Veneto that are perhaps less well known to tourists.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Orto Botanico in Padua

Botanical Garden inspired the German writer Goethe

The world’s first botanical garden created for educational purposes was opened in Padua in 1545.

Orto Botanico, which has now been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, was devoted to the growth of medicinal plants that could provide natural remedies for treating illnesses.

Orto Botanico in Padua was designed
 in accordance with Renaiisance ideals

The garden was designed for Padua University by Bergamo architect Andrea Moroni, who based it on a detailed architectonic plan in accordance with Renaissance ideals. It is laid out in the form of a circle enclosing a square, which was divided into four quadrants, in which the plants were grown.

The oldest and most important plants were grown in the hub of the garden, known as the hortus spahaericus.

These include a palm (Chamaerops humilis) planted in 1585, which became known as Goethe’s palm, because the German writer made a careful study of it in 1786 and drew from it his intuitions about evolution. He later published his ideas in an essay about the metamorphosis of plants.

The garden also has greenhouses, which were added at the beginning of the 19th century, and a library, where old scientific documents are preserved.

Padua’s Orto Botanico is still used for research into rare plants and threatened species, with a view to reintroducing them to their natural environment.

The garden is in Via Orto Botanico close to Prato della Valle, one of the city’s main squares, where there is a tram stop. It is open to the public every day, but has closed temporarily due to the Covid 19 pandemic.



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