|Cynthia Pre݁fointaine, Vista aerea dell'Area Marciana, Venezia, 2015|
I was privileged to be invited to the press conference for the Restoration Project of the Giardini Reali on April 7, which was attended by many prominent local individuals, including the mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, as well as the heads of various organizations. Thanks to a partnership between the Venice Gardens Foundation, a new non-profit organization headed by the dynamic art curator, Adele Re Rebaudengo, and Assicurazioni Generali, the venerable Italian insurance company whose symbol is the Lion of San Marco, the gardens will be brought back to life.
|Anna Regge, acquerello 2017, Veduta dei Giardini Reali dalle finestre del Museo Correr|
"When restored, the Royal Gardens will be formal and precise, in keeping with its historic nineteenth-century design, but at the same time filled with the unexpected. It will be a garden where visitors will walk in the shade of its long, centuries-old wisteria covered pergola, and, hidden from view by dense screens of evergreens, will discover the vast, intimate, timeless path that crosses the rebuilt drawbridge and leads to the Correr Museum, in a renewed dialogue with Piazza San Marco and the Marciana area. It will be a meeting place open to the profound qualities of the arts, where nature and artistic languages unite to safeguard the garden and all its living elements. ...A place for thought; silent entry into a world in which there is space for harmony, contemplation and productivity."
|Piazza San Marco (from the Campanile)|
What is the office of the Procurator of San Marco? During the Venetian Republic, the procurators were nine powerful legal officers whose duties were so complex it would take a book, not a blog post, to examine. Their lifetime appointment was the most prestigious office after the Doge. A fascinating tidbit is that even after the fall of the Venetian Republic the office of the Procurator of San Marco was not abolished, and still exists today.
|Royal Gardens seen through Empress Sissi's window in Museo Correr - Photo: Cat Bauer|
These days the Correr Museum inhabits the Procuratie Nuove, which is entered through the Napoleonic Wing. The Royal Gardens are overlooked by the Correr Museum, the imperial chambers of the Royal Palace, the Archaeological Museum and the Marciana Library
|Paolo Pejrone - Photo: Cat Bauer|
I have recently become obsessed with Rosa Moceniga, an ancient rose that the writer, Andrea di Robilant, had discovered growing wild on his ancestor's property, Alvisopoli, a little town created during the Venetian Republic by his great-great-great-great grandfather, Alvise Mocenigo. Andrea had found a silvery pink rose with a strong, sweet fragrance growing in the wilderness while researching his book, Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon. He was determined to find out how the rose had gotten there, and traced it back to the time that his great-great-great-great grandmother, Lucia, had spent with Empress Josephine Bonaparte in France, which had inspired another book, Chasing the Rose, which I found to be surprisingly compelling.
I thought: The perfect circle for Rosa Moceniga would be for the rose to be part of the Royal Gardens. I sent Andrea a text message: "I am at a press conference. Generali is restoring Giardini Reali. Wouldn't it be PERFECT to include Rosa Moceniga?" Andrea responded: "Yes, it would! Ask them!"
During lunch, I found Paolo Pejrone sitting in the corner. I said, "Do you know Andrea di Robilant?" He smiled. "Yes." "Do you know Rosa Moceniga?" "Yes..." "Don't you think it would be PERFECT if Rosa Moceniga was in the Giardini Reali?" Pejrone burst out laughing. "Yes! Yes!"
Now, you are going to have to read Chasing the Rose to find out why it is so perfect, but once you do, I am sure that you will agree. Rosa Moceniga is such a strong and powerful rose that she has survived for centuries unattended, growing in the wilderness all on her own. But Rosa Moceniga's real home is in the Royal Gardens. In fact, I recommend reading the book to better appreciate how important the reawakening of the Royal Gardens in Venice is -- to have a magical, formal garden in the heart of Venice will bring nature, grace and elegance back to the soul of the city.
|Francesco Neri, La Coffee House - Il Padiglione del Caffe݀ dei Giardini Reali, Venezia, 2016|
I also had the pleasure of finally meeting Erla Zwingle, a writer and blogger who has lived in Venice even longer than I have, and whose clever blog, I am not making this up, I highly recommend. Read what she has to say about Regrowing a Garden.
The restored Royal Gardens are set to open towards the end of 2018.
Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog