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The Botanical Garden of Lucca

Next to the Renaissance walls, in the south-eastern part of the city, the Botanical Garden of Lucca extends for about two hectares. A jewel to be discovered by staying at Ilaria Hotel.

 

A green island in the center of the city 

 

Botanical Garden of Lucca is a museum and cultural institute of the Municipality of Lucca. Guardian of architectural heritage dating back to the nineteenth century, it houses a rich biodiversity and fascinating collections of works of art. 
 
Initially conceived as a passage garden, thanks to careful enhancement, awareness and dissemination activities, it has changed positioning. The Botanical Garden of Lucca has in fact become a witness and spokesperson for major current issues, related to biodiversity, sustainability and, more generally, the relationship between man and nature. 
 
In the southernmost part of the garden there is a large Alboreto. Here there are centuries-old trees with an imposing and grandiose appearance. In the nearby Montagnola there is space for the flora coming from the mountains located near Lucca. This portion of the territory also includes the delightful Pond and a beautiful collection of camellias and rhododendrons. 
 
On the opposite side there is room for a large collection of medicinal plants, located in the Botanical School. But it doesn't stop there. To embellish the northern side of the Botanical Garden there are old and new greenhouses, a Library and the Cesare Bicchi Museum, inside which you can admire the precious herbaria that collect some dried plants, classified according to scientific methods and purposes. Finally, there is also one of the offices of the Regional Germplasm Bank, which houses the seeds of some local varieties at risk of extinction. 
 
The activities of the Garden are aimed at raising awareness, teaching and conservation of the species housed within it. 

 
A fascinating history spanning over 200 years

 

The Botanical Garden was founded in 1820. It was February 8, 1814 when Princess Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, at the express request of the Medical Faculty, granted the approval to open a botanical garden, allocating the necessary funds for its maintenance. The collapse of the Napoleonic empire stopped everything, forcing Napoleon Bonaparte's sister to flee Lucca. 
 
The project resumed five years later, with a new sovereign. The Congress of Vienna had in fact installed the Duchess Maria Luisa of Bourbon, former queen of Etruria and now regent in the name of her son Carlo Ludovico. The foundation of the Garden dates back to 23 May 1820; the works will begin a year later and will finish in 1823. 
 
Beyond the initial capital made available by the regent, the institution had to be able to support itself. For this reason, from 1825 the garden began to host a nursery where to cultivate the species, in such a way as to satisfy the growing demands of Lucca and foreigners for exotic plants. 
 
The Municipality of Lucca bought the Garden after the unification of Italy, in 1903. From then and until the second post-war period, the institutions paid little attention to it, so much so as to expose it to an invasion of termites which damaged many volumes of the Library. Since 1999 (and until 2018) the Opera delle Mura - the institution of the municipality of Lucca responsible for the protection and promotion of the city's assets - has presided over the administration of the Garden: the Garden is reborn, thanks to a meticulous and ambitious redevelopment project. In 2019, it falls under the direct control of the municipal administration of the city, which also invests in the development of relations with other museums located throughout Italy and abroad. 
 
 
 
The Botanical Garden is in via del Giardino Botanico 14, in Lucca. Open every day in summer, access is by reservation only. Stay at Ilaria Hotel and visit the splendid green jewel. 

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