As we ascended the hill, an extraordinary view opened before us: the countryside seemed so fertile and well-cultivated as I had never before seen in Italy‘.
[Thomas Graham Jackson]
The Marche Region still retains an extraordinary wealth of historical gardens. Some of these are public and are therefore open to visitors for a few months of the year; others are still in private hands. The latter are very obvious evidence of the high level of culture and refinement attained in Marchesan life over the course of the centuries.
Ia all undoubtedly began with the hanging garden commisioned by the Duke of Montefeltro in the Ducal Palace of Urbino. Afterwards, the spread of cultivated areas in the noble Villas was great indeed: Villa Imperiale and Villa Caprile between 1600 and 1700. Villa Bonaccorsi, Villa Montegallo, Villa La Pieve e Villa Sgariglia between 1700 and 1800. Last of all, Villa Collio and Villa Seghetti Panichi were developed as landscaped gardens of the 19th Century. An influential charactristic of the Region is the unique microclimate that originates at the mouth of the river Tronto in the Piceno Province. In the area between the Sibillini Mountains and the Adriatic Coast the air, the humidity and special half seasons give rise to a spectacular growth of palms, oleanders and succulents of rare beauty.
Though the routes made availble by Le Marche Segrete it is possible to visit the old garden in the coutyard of Palazzo Dalla Casapiccola in Recanati that looks onto the Colle dell’Infinito or the 18th Century garden of Villa La Pieve in Macerata, with its precious lemon-houses, fastigeate cypresses and beds of perfumed myrtles, wild lavender and thyme.
There are also, the splendid 18th Century esoteric garden of Villa Sgariglia at Grottammare, rich in statuary, obeliscs and fountains, and the landscaped gardens of the Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi at Castel di Lama, designed by the famous architect and botanist Ludovico Winter, who introduced exotic plants in the outdoors.