Wandering nurseries: Padua and its surroundings (Veneto/1)

Veneto is one of the Italian regions with the most nurseries, small and big. This first itinerary is set in the surroundings of Padua, city with an age-old history, traditions, art and monuments, such as Palazzo della Ragione, recently renovated, Loggia dei Carraresi (palace of the Carrara), the Scrovegni Chapel with the precious frescos by Giotto, Donatello’s sculptures and Libeskind monument. The city is rich in palaces, churches and squares: the Basilica of S. Antonio and S. Giustina, the Dome, piazza delle Erbe, piazza della Frutta, Prato della Valle, the arcades, Palazzo del Bo, the university, and the Botanical Garden, maybe the most ancient in Italy and Europe. Our itinerary among the nurseries around the city can be followed in 2-3 days, discovering roses, irises, clematises and aquatic plants, but also, for those who are interested, contemporary gardens, historic gardens, botanical gardens and so much more.


The map indicates the nurseries and the other locations of the suggested itinerary. For each nursery, we indicate its distance from the others, in order to facilitate you in the choice of the ones to visit and their order.

Vivai della Colombara, a Cittadella (Padua): also known as Vivai Nicheli, the family name, it selects and cultivates ornamental plants, among which many berry and flowering shrubs, boxes, perennial herbaceous plants, vines, ancient and modern roses. It also designs and realises gardens and green spaces, besides offering expert advice and assessments about trees, knocking downs and tree climbing pruning.

Distance from other nurseries: km 4 from Raziel – km 9 from Strano ma Verde – km 10 from Hydrofyllum – km 42,5 from La Campanella – km 47 from Novaspina – km 75 from Floricoltura Billo.

Vivaio Raziel, Agapanthus ‘Amsterdam’

Vivaio Raziel, a San Martino di Lupari (Padua): specialised in bulbs, with important collections of historic, modern and botanical tulips, daffodils, agapanthuses, grape hyacinths and bush lilies that the owner, Pedro Minto, has been collecting for years with great passion and competence.

Distance from other nurseries: km 6 from Strano ma Verde – km 4 from Vivaio della Colombara – km 12 from Hydrofyllum – km 46 from La Campanella – km 51 from Novaspina – km 78 from Floricoltura Billo.

Vivaio Strano ma Verde

Strano ma Verde, a San Martino di Lupari (Padua): this small nursery is specialised in “environmental” grasses and herbs, that is those found in lawns and nature. There is a common entrance with the sawmill “Società Carlon”, be careful. The owner, Enrico Carlon, designs and realises fascinating gardens, yet very simple. Phone them before going there.

Distance from other nurseries: km 11,5 from Hydrofyllum – km 9 from Vivaio della Colombara – km 6 from Raziel – km 38 from La Campanella – km 46 from Novaspina – km 83 from Floricoltura Billo.

Hydrophyllum Vivaio Piante Acquatiche

Hydrophyllum Vivaio Piante Acquatiche, a Cittadella (Padua): the small agricultural company run by Fabio, Linda and Marco Cartolaro, specialises in aquatic plants, water lilies and lotus flowers in particular. They have beautiful ready-made kibbles. The nursery is always open, prior to appointment.

Distance from other nurseries: km 28 from La Campanella – km 10 from Vivaio della Colombara – km 12 from Raziel – km 11,5 from Strano ma Verde – km 34,5 from Novaspina – km 69 from Floricoltura Billo.

Azienda agricola La Campanella

Azienda agricola La Campanella, a Cervarese Santa Croce (Padua): this nursery established by Anna Maria Sgarabottolo is specialised in the production of ancient roses, especially Rose Gallica, and clematises. Always open, except in August, it offers cultivation and rose pruning classes. Anna Maria has also opened a small publishing house, La Campanella, specialised in books about roses, for instance, Rose d’autunno (Autumn Roses) written with Enza Torrenti.

Distance from other nurseries: km 9 from Novaspina – km from 42,5 Vivaio della Colombara – km 46 from Raziel – km 38 from Strano ma Verde – km 28 from Hydrofyllum – km 40 from Floricoltura Billo.

Azienda agricola Novaspina (Rosa Caterina Cornaro)

Azienda agricola Novaspina, a Teolo (Padua): the young nursery founded by Davide dalla Libera, specialises in the hybridisation and production of new varieties, mainly roses and irises. Starting from parents that are not often used for hybridisation, he concentrates on the selection of roses that can resist difficult climates, hot and cold, fungal diseases. He also creates varieties with strange leaves, for their colour and shape, and varieties with cup-shaped flowers or similar to Rosa Tea, in shrubs or climbing, to which he gives poetic and evocative names, some of them belonging to the Venetian gentlewomen of the past: ‘Moscalbò’, ‘Fosca’, ‘Rosalba Carriera’, ‘La Tintoretta’… Furthermore, Davide reproduces and cultivates many roses selected by other hybridisers like Rolando Zandri, Marc Alberici, Dominique Massad. Contact him before going, he might be at some exhibition.

Distance from other nurseries: km 44,5 from Floricoltura Billo – km 47 from Vivaio della Colombara – km 51 from Raziel – km 46 from Strano ma Verde – km 34,5 from Hydrofyllum – km 9 from La Campanella.

Floricoltura Billo (Dianthus ‘Candy Floss’)

Floricoltura Billo, a Merlara (Padua): established by a young and lvely couple, Federico Billo and Melissa Boggian, it specialises in the production of carnations (Dianthus spp.). Among their interesting collections, there are wild lawn carnations and English reblooming carnations that can bloom until winter. Contact them before going, they might be at some exhibition.

Distance from other nurseries: km 75 from Vivaio della Colombara – km 78 from Raziel – km 83 from Strano ma Verde – km 69 from Hydrofyllum – km 40 from La Campanella – km 44,5 from Novaspina.

From here, you can connect to the itinerary Wandering nurseries: Treviso and its surroundings (Veneto/2).

Gardens to visit:

If you have the time, add the visit to Padua Botanical Garden, a garden dedicated to tropical butterflies and two pleasant private gardens; also, some of the many historic gardens I the territory.

Orto botanico di Padova

Padua Botanical Garden: it competes with the Botanical Garden in Pisa the title of first botanical garden Italy (half of the 16th Century). You can’t miss it because it unites past and present thanks to the new greenhouses recently opened.

Casa delle Farfalle

La Casa delle Farfalle, a Montegrotto Terme (Padua): it is a living museum, created by entomologist and naturalist Enzo Moretto. It is made up of three indoor tropical gardens, where more than 400 butterflies, diurnal and nocturnal, live and reproduce; they come from different climates (Amazonian, African-tropical, Indo-Australian) and live among tropical plants, not treated with pesticides. It is open from March to November.

Au Paradis del Papillons

Le Paradis des Papillons, ad Abano Terme (Padua): created by its owner and gardener Michele Thomas Calore, it is a very pleasant garden on clay land, divided in rooms obtained with curvilinear scrubs of shrubs, perennials, arches, pergolas, yew hedges, a wood of hornbeams and lime trees, a pond. The lawn is a green path sliding among the plants and inviting people to discover more of the garden. There are many roses, resistant to difficult climates, scented and mostly reblooming, from the nursery Novaspina of his friend Davide dalla Libera, grasses, coneflowers and asters, perennials of the American prairie. There are flowers all over the year, therefore it is worth visiting in every season. The passionate owner will guide you through your visit, who also included farmyard animals: ornamental chickens, geese, ducks and peacocks.

Il giardino di Camilla Zanarotti

Giardino di Camilla Zanarotti, a Zovencedo (Vicenza): to visit his garden you have to move away from the area of Padua, but it is really worth it. Landscaper and gardener Camilla Zanarotti will guide you through her garden on sloping terrain, rocky and not deep. Facing a beautiful view, it develops on terraces, starting from the wood behind her house. The garden has very light colours, mostly shades of pink, white and violet, and presents a very interesting botanical choice of species and varieties that can resist to the difficult climate and terrain. There are also very romantic gazebos in chestnut wood covered with roses and a superb vegetable and flower garden, organically cultivated. Camilla opens the garden for planned visits of groups of enthusiasts. You can contact her at +39 329 2248695.

If you want to visit some of the important historic gardens in the area, have a look at the itinerary Wandering nurseries: from Padua to Vicenza.

Alternatively, I remind you of the suggestive Burchiello cruise that from Padua will lead you to Venice and back again, allowing you to observe from the water many Venetian villas along the shoreline of river Brenta, churches, bridges and sluices. It lasts a whole day.

In alternativa, vi ricordo la suggestiva crociera del Burchiello, che da Padova conduce a Venezia e ritorno, permettendo di ammirare dall’acqua molte delle ville venete ubicate lungo le rive del fiume Brenta, chiese, ponti e chiuse. Dura un’intera giornata.


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