Friuli Venezia Giulia is a region extremely rich in history, culture, diverse natural environments, mostly untouched by man. About gardens: in 2014, when the last census “historic parks and gardens in Friuli Venezia Giulia” was made(realizzato Centro regionale di catalogazione e restauro dei beni culturali assieme al Rotary per la Regione, all’Associazione dimore storiche friulane e al Consorzio per la salvaguardia dei castelli storici regionale), there were 381, among private and public ones. It is therefore not by chance that many nurseries were created there; here is a selection of the most particular ones.
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.
Susigarden, Aiello (Udine): established by Gianni Geotti and Suzanne Lukas, it produces ancient and modern roses, clematises and other vines, ancient and modern violets, ferns, aromatics, perennials, ornamental grasses and shrubs, in particular Hydrangeaes. Expert and helpful, they choose the plants to cultivate with care, aided by the already existing documentation and by the best breeders, selling them only after a long observation. They grow mostly from seeds.
L’Orto Fiorito, a Martignacco (Udine): located at the foot of the first Friulan hills, it is a garden centre-nursery established by Paolo Saccavini, botanist and watercolourist, and his wife Aida Fumagalli. It produces bearer trees, small fruits, rose, medicinals and aromatics, vines, vegetables, seasonal and perennial flowering plants, cultivated with the utmost respect of nature, following moon phases and the conjunctions of the planets. Their daughter, Chiara Saccavini, who writes beautiful and useful books about plants, created and continued to develop some collections: begonias, violets, carnations, geraniums, jasmines, Hedychiums and more. The garden centre offers a large choice of seeds, vases, equipment, topsolis, fertilizers, and phytosanitary products, also organic ones.
Vivaio-giardino Botanica Santa Marizza, a Varmo (Udine): born as a small nursery specialised in shading plants (musks, ferns and ivies), it has then become a pleasant garden where you can buy plants produced by the owner, Ruggero Bosco, in order to be used in the gardens he designs or takes care of. He also produces many ancient and botanical roses.
Floricoltura Orticoltura IOP, a Villotta di Chions (Udine): it is specialised in the production of aromatic and medicinal plants – more than 200 varieties in total -, small fruits and perennial herbaceous plants, organically produced without the use of any machinery! All the phases are carried out manually.
Il Giardino del Chiostro, a Cividale del Friuli (Udine): it is enclosed on three sides by the walls of the ancient San Giorgio monastery, whereas on the last side it overlooks the river Natisone. This agricultural company and educational farm is specialised in the cultivation of vegetables, medicinal and aromatic herbs, following the principles of permaculture and the philosophy of the synergistic vegetable garden.
Le Officinali di Eleonora, a Pieris (Udine): it is not really a nursery but am agricultural company-laboratory specialised in the cultivation and transformation of medicinal herbs, following the principles of organic agriculture. Eleonora Cosolo, owner and herbalist, prepares syrups, preserves, jams, infusions, medicinal or cosmetic products with wild, fresh or dried flowers and herbs.
Some gardens to visit
Il giardino di Mirella Collavini, a Rivignano (Udine): very sweet and poetic woman, Mirella Collavini is known among plant and garden enthusiast for reintroducing ancient varieties of double-flowered sweet violet, characteristic of this territory, for creating a collection of botanical violets, ancient and modern, for dedicating herself to leaved begonias, spiderworts and other fascinating plats. Her garden, behind the beautiful family-house, is very charming; with its shaded corners, violet flowerbeds and peonies it looks like a 19th Century garden. The nursery opens only by appointment.
Giardino Botanica Santa Marizza, a Varmo (Udine): this enchanted garden is located within the nursery of the same name. It is divided by themes: aromatic herbs, Mediterranean plants, perennial herbaceous plants and roses, with the addition of a small bucolic lake in a tiny bamboo wood. A large clearing, delimited by herbaceous and grasses with some pergolas with climbing roses, gently connects it with the surrounding landscape. You should make a phone call before visiting because the owner, Ruggero Bosco, might be elsewhere, maintaining or realising other gardens.
Franco Fontanel, laboratory-garden in San Martino al Tagliamento (Pordenone): Francesco Fontanel is a veritable master of flowers, a floral designer whose hands create poetic and romantic compositions with nature’s goods collected by him, such as bare and flowered branches, pinecones, musks, berries and wood flowers. He also offers floral composition classes and has an amazing garden, don’t miss it!
Castello di Strassoldo, Cervignano del Friuli (Udine): the twin castles of Strassoldo di Sopra and di Sotto were built more than 1000 years ago by the Counts of Strassoldo. They are surrounded by charming gardens with spring watercoursesm rich in flowers, roses, rare species and majestic trees. In April and in October two renowned market exhibitions are held there: “In Primavera: Fiori, Acque e Castelli” e “In Autunno: Frutti, Acque e Castelli”, with nurserymen and artisans. On these occasions, the castles and the village are decorated with compositions of flowers, leaves and fruits.
Vegetable gardens and botanical gardens
Il Giardino dei Semplici, a Zuglio (UD): divided into four terraces, it includes 1200 botanical species, mostly local, among vegetable, poisonousa and medicinal plants, some of them common in Carnia and the surrounding territory.
Giardino Botanico Carsiana, Sgonico (Trieste, Karst Plateau): this botanical garden is really worth the visit, even if it means continuing the itinerary towards the marvellous Karst Plateau. The garden is dedicated to the natural environments and the flora, typical of the Karst Plateau; it is interesting in every season of its opening (21 March-3 November), but most of all in spring thanks to its countless botanical treasures to be discovered in this very suggestive landscape. The garden also offers many educational activities.
Friuli Venezia Giulia is also rich in naturalistic oasis and reserves. We recommend one, very interesting from the floricultural point of view. You can find the others in Itinerari della Natura: il Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Parco Biotipo dei Magredi di San Quirino, San Quirino (Pordenone): you need to visit this park to discover the botanical richness of the “magredi”, or “prati magri”, made up of a vegetation of herbs and scrubs that adapted to an arid soil, recently included in the European list of Sites of Community Importance. The fauna is also very rich, especially for mammal and birds.
Where to eat and stay
B&B Castello di Strassoldo, Cervignano del Friuli (Udine): annexed to the castles and the ancient village, it has great charm. It is ideal if you want to be a castellan for one night!
located in the Rauscedo countryside, in San Giorgio della Richinvelda (Pordenone), it extends over 20 hectares, cultivated with actiniads, grapevine, corn and soy; there also is a wood, a botanical park with 50 species of local trees and shrubs, an orchard with spontaneous bearer plants, pastures for geese, ducks and chickens. The company is in the “magredi”, an arid territory very rich in botanical diversity.
Furthermore, you can visit the Museo della Civiltà Contadina in Pozzo di S. Giorgio della Richinvelda, the memorial stone of Beato Bertrando, the small S. Nicolò church and the historic centres of Valvasone and Spilimbergo, where the traditional school for mosaicists is located.