Italy's Private Gardens

Italy's Private Gardens : An Inside View

4.87 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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Helena Attlee and her photographer husband Alex Ramsay have been visiting Italian gardens, photographing them and writing about them, for two decades. In recent years Helena has been leading garden tours to Italy, arranging for clients to enjoy lunch with garden owners, chat with gardeners and discuss designs with landscape architects. These behind-the-scenes glimpses are the inspiration for Italy's Private Gardens, a book built around conversations with people intimately associated with some of Italy's most intriguing private gardens. Owners, designers and gardeners talk freely about their personal experiences, the problems they have faced and overcome. Each garden is introduced with a brief history.

With stunning photographs taken by Alex Ramsay, Italy's Private Gardens takes in 19 gardens in Piedmont, the Veneto, Tuscany, Lazio, Umbria and, unusually, Sicily, and includes interviews with Arabella Lennox-Boyd at Palazzo Parisi, Jane and Francesco da Mosto at their retreat in the Venetian lagoon, Principessa Maria Carla Borghese at Il Biviere and Gil Cohen and Paul Gervais at Villa Massei.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 256 x 300 x 26mm | 1,601.17g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 150 colour photographs
  • 0711229104
  • 9780711229105
  • 171,999

Table of contents




1 Paolo Pejrone garden

Paolo Pejrone

2 Villa San Remigio

Contessa Silvia Bonacossa Sella

3 Villa Cicogna Mozzoni

Contessa Cicogna Mozzoni


4 Da Mosto garden

Jane and Francesco da Mosta


5 Villa Poggio Torselli

Ada Segre and Gianfranco Luzzetti

6 Villa Massei

Gil Cohen and Paul Gervais

7 Villa La Pietra

Nick Dakin-Elliot and

Gino and Dino Morghenni

8 Castiglione del Bosco

Philip Adiutori and Marco Battaggia

9 La Ferriera

Contessa Giuppi Pietromarchi


10 La Foce

Benedetto Origo

11 La Scarzuola

Brian Pentland and Marco Solaro


12 La Torrecchia

Stuart Barfoot and Dan Pearson

13 Palazzo Parisi

Arabella Lennox-Boyd

14 La Luccica

Gianlupo Osti

15 Ninfa

Esme Howard and Lauro Marchetti


16 San Giuliano

Rachel Lamb

17 Il Biviere

Principessa Maria Carla Borghese

18 Giardino Pezzino

Rossella Pezzino

19 Villa PaternA (2)

Ettore PaternA (2)


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Review quote

This is a really beautifully presented and sumptuous coffee table book that would appeal to anyone who is interested in Italy, its people, their gardens and the relationship between the three. Italia Ramsay's well-composed perfectly exposed shots are a breath of fresh air. Amateur Photographer For garden visitors and armchair travellers. Irish Times Helena Attlee spent months having a proper old nosey to produce 'Italy's Private Gardens' Spectacular views, pools, fountains and cascades, olive groves and terracotta urns, but also new commissionssuch as Dan Pearson's La Torrecchia. And in an unusual treat for the pathhetically curious, photos of all the owners too. The perfect sofa book. Independent The garden historian Helena Attlee, in tandem with her photographer husband, Alex Ramsay, is fast becoming a specialist on European gardens. She has books on Italian and Portuguese gardens and has now published a more subtle selection ... Attlee has known Italy all her adult life and her fluent Italian has allowed her to interview the owners for their personal stories, so many of which began with historic gardens devastated by the Second World War Times You don't need to be a gardener to drool over Italy's Private Gardens, a book that delightfully incorporates not just the sumptuous gardens themselves but also the gardeners who are just as characterful. Evening Standard It is not a book for curious or thoughtful gardeners, but is one of those picture books where the reader longs to leap into every page. Perfect lemons grow in enviable terracotta pots. Wistaria flowers as it never does here, stone pools of water and statues adorn bosky evergreenery and what with the odd Contessa, gnarled old and handsome young gardeners, as well as several dogs all bathed in beautiful Italian light, only an utter killjoy could resist leafing through the pleasures on offer. Spectator A truly stunning book by Helena Atlee, featuring Italy's most beautiful private gardens and the stories behind them. Italia Well-written and exactly the sort of book to curl up with on a winter's day when you can only dream of wisteria and roses. Wonderful pictures by Alex Ramsay, help greatly. Oxford Times This is a book 'built around conversations' and Helena Attlee quotes liberally from the owners, writing in a personal, anecdotal, occasionally chatty way. It makes reading it an intimate experience, like spending the afternoon wandering these gardens in the company of unfailingly charming upper-class Italians. BBC Gardens Illustrated Few English writers understand Italian gardens better than Helena Atlee... A rare thing: she is thoroughly academic yet delightfully accessible, rendering this and her previous books indispensible to student and visitor alike. House & Garden This gorgeously illustrated book invites us into the secret world of lush greenery that lies behind the walls of some of Italy's most impressive homes. Bellisima! Homes & Interiors Scotland A fascinating book. And I can't wait to get to San Guiliano. -- Anna Pavord World of Interiors Italian Gardens have been best served this year... Helena Attlee is an even more experienced garden traveller and garden historian and has given us a sample of 'Italy's Private Gardens'. -- Robin Lane Fox Financial Times
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About Helena Attlee

Alex Ramsay is well known as an award-winning photographer of architecture, gardens and landscapes. His work has appeared in leading magazines worldwide and illustrates many books including Helena Attlee's Italian Gardens: A Cultural History and Gardens of Wales.

To visit Alex Ramsay's website click here

Helena Attlee is an author and journalist who has made the garden and its history her special subject. Her books include The Gardens of Portugal Italian Gardens: A Cultural History and Gardens of Wales (all publishd by Frances Lincoln). She lectures widely, writes for a wide range of journals and magazines, and leads specialist garden tours. She lives in Presteigne, Powys, with her husband, the photographer Alex Ramsay.
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Rating details

8 ratings
4.87 out of 5 stars
5 88% (7)
4 12% (1)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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