Paradise Regained: New Life for Old Gardens

What is Paradise?

La Madonna del roseto

A garden is a plot of ground enclosed by a wall, created in order to encourage new life and enjoy its contemplation. It comprises a landscape in which nature resembles art and art resembles nature: in this way its creators rediscover their original state, at one with the universe.

The idea and image of the garden exemplify mankind's oldest and most tantalising dream: how to recreate the 'original womb', a place of protection, happiness and perfection which harbours beauty because in there everything grows in harmony, in the cosmic union of earth and sky, nurtured by human care.

Throughout the Mediterranean world, the garden has been known as 'paradise' (from the ancient Greek para-deisos and Avestan pairi-daeza: place enclosed by a wall). In all cultures the image of paradise characterises the beginning and the end of time.

Many of the historical gardens throughout Europe now lie derelict and forgotten, and it is our manifest duty to rescue them and regenerate new life. Paradise must not simply be an image of nostalgia and reverence, but also an indication and guide for projects which embody tangible rewards and hope.

Prof. Donatella Mazzoleni

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