This post is also available in: Italian
From the gentle Piacentino hills to the wooded Apennine; from the wild valleys enclosed by badlands with their light blue rivers, to the cultivated plain; from the dunes of the coastline to the wetlands of the Delta of the Po…Emilia Romagna has many landscapes, environments, elegant and cultured cities, charming villages, ancient castles, public and private gardens, beautiful naturalistic reserves and oasis. There would be many possible itineraries in this region, let’s begin with three dedicated to the most interesting nurseries: as always, you can choose to follow one at a time or all at once. We will add a couple of gardens and many other things that you will encounter during these itineraries. The first one begins from the Piacentino area, reaching Parma, Reggio Emilia and Modena, guiding you at the discovery of perennial herbaceous plant, hortensias and particular vines, shading plants and plants with variegated leaves, ancient fruits, amazing topiaries boxes, ancient and modern roses, Tea roses and many other uncommon roses.
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.
Un Quadrato di Giardino, just outside Piacenza: this small farm established by Andrea Martina produces, reproduces and sells unusual perennial herbaceous plants, shading and groundcover plants, plants with variegated leaves, begonias, ornamental grasses, ancient and historic roses, an interesting choice of hortensias and vines, selected also for their longevity, resistance to deep freeze, low maintenance and flowering period.
Distance from other nurseries: km 5 from Green Service – km 66 from Minari Buxus – km 93 from Az. Agr. Castel Piombino – km 115 from Maioli Frutti Antichi – km 123 from Az. agr. L’Ippocastano.
Green Service: located in the vicinity of Podenzano (Piacenza), this nursery mostly produces bushes, aromatics, cactuses, succulents and turfs, besides planning and realising gardens. Though not particularly specialises, it might be useful if you have a garden nearby to enrich or rearrange.
Distance from other nurseries: km 66 from Minari Buxus – km 5 from Un quadrato di giardino – km 86 from Az. agr. Castel Piombino – km 114 from Maioli Frutti Antichi – km 122 from Az. agr. L’Ippocastano.
Minari Buxus, Vicomero (Parma): this amazing nursery is particularly specialised in the production of big topiary Buxus sempervirens and its varieties, which are never attacked by pyralis or other pests, thank to the attentive cares of the owner, Piergiorgio Minari. The annexed demonstrative garden is also very beautiful, with boxes, grasses and perennial herbaceous plants, created together with landscaper Silvia Ghirelli. Not to be missed in every season.
Distance from other nurseries: km 32 from Az. agr. Castel Piombino – km 66 from Un Quadrato di Giardino – km 66 from Green Service – km 60 from Maioli Frutti Antichi – km 68 from Az. agr. L’Ippocastano.
Azienda agricola Castel Piombino: located on the hills near Parma, family-run, the farm produces bearer plants, ancient local varieties in particular, and reproduces olive trees from ancient stool lands in the area. The farm also has a small production of extra-virgin oil.
Distance from other nurseries: km 53 from Maioli Frutti Antichi – km from 93 Un Quadrato di Giardino – km 114 from Green Service – km 32 from Minari Buxus – km 62 from Az. agr. L’Ippocastano.
Maioli Frutti Antichi, Salvaterra (Reggio Emilia): the company Maioli, now run by Enzo, has been dedicated from generation to the research and cultivation of ancient and forgotten fruit plants, now counting more than 1200 varieties, the same ones grown by our grandparents, resistant to diseases without abusing of phytosanitary products and bearing fruits rich in vitamin C.
Distance from other nurseries: km 16 Az. from Agr. L’Ippocastano – km 115 from Un Quadrato di Giardino – km 114 from Green Service – km 60 from Minari Buxus – km 53 from Az. agr. Castel Piombino.
Azienda agricola L’Ippocastano, Formigine (Modena): this nursery, with a romantic rose garden annexed to it, is dedicated to growing and selling ancient, rare and collectible roses, among which Gallica, Alba, x Damascena, Portland, Centifolia, Centifolia Muscosa, Cinesi, Rugose, hybrids of Moschata, Rifiorenti and Tè, fascinated and little known, Botaniche, Rose Italiane, Rose Gigantea, Sarmentose and Moderne. In total, there are more than 600 varieties, naturally grown and grouped by family and historic order in their catalogue, available also online. The friendly owner, Maria Angela Palmieri, organises pruning classes, events and exhibitions.
Distance from other nurseries: km 42 from Plantula (conction to the itinerary Wandering nurseries: Emilia Romagna/2 – around Bologna) – km from 123 Un quadrato di giardino – km from Green Seervice – km 68 from Minari Buxus – km 62 from Az. agr. Castel Piombino – km 16 from Maioli Frutti Antichi.
This concludes the first itinerary; if you want to go on, you can have a look at Wandering nurseries: Emilia Romagna/2 – around Bologna.
Gardens not to be missed in the area
Reggia di Colorno (Parma): this beautiful 16-17th Century palazzo has rooms with floral frescoes and a great French garden. The renovation, ended in 2000, has restored the original parterre, two green galleries of Carpinus betulus 120 m long delimiting its sides, and Tilia cordata elliptical hedges connected to a hedge of Taxus with berries. Water plays have also been recovered, among which the circular fountain in the centre and the two fountains in the upper part of the garden. 46 earthenware vases with lemon trees, bearing the emblem of the Hoses of Farnese, Borbone and Maria Luigia. Since 1993, the park has been hosting “Nel Segno del Giglio”, at the end of April, exhibition-market of quality gardening.
Il Labirinto di Bambù, Fontanellato (Parma): this extraordinary labyrinth, the biggest in the world, extends over 8 hectares and is 3 km long. It was created by the publisher and art collector Franco Maria Ricci using only bamboo: 120 thousand plants belonging to 4 species and a lot of varieties. Playing and getting lost in there will be exciting both for adults and children. The park hosts some buildings designed by architect Piercarlo Bontempi: a museum, exhibiting the art collection of Franco Maria Ricci with about 500 works of art from the 16th Century to the 20th Century, a library with 15000 books, a historic collection of all the books published by the publishing house in its 50 years of activity, a shop with typical regional products, a Michelin star restaurant.
Giardino Il Castelletto di Villa Arnò, Albinea (Reggio Emilia): this fascinating fairy tale-like garden surrounding on two sides an elegant villa dating back to the second half of the 19th Century, was created by Caroline Solomon, elegant Belgian lady very passionate about plants and gardening, with the help of landscaper Silvia Ghirelli. Divided in themed rooms (rose garden, winter garden, vegetable garden-orchard, hortensias garden, wild garden and more) and full of roses, peonies, perennials, grasses, ornamentals, shrubs, vines, bulbs, among funny scarecrows, sculptures and animals created with intertwined willow branches, the garden offers beauty in every season. Visits have to be booked in advance. Caroline Solomon also founded the Association “Arte in Orto”, gathering art and green-lovers, which offers every month initiatives about gardening, art, painting, music, poetry and fashion, thus mixing art and garden. To participate you need to become a member, with a contribution of 20 €.
Where to stay
La Locanda nel Vento, via Calisano 4, Calestano (Parma): this charming B&B in a farmers’ village 400 years old, is located along the Via Francigena, 580 metres above sea level, near the mediaeval village of Calestano, with ancient stone houses and narrow alleys. Facing a marvellous view, you will stay among secular trees (kept in order by experienced tree-climbers), pets and the mystic atmosphere of this place. Thanks to an agreement with some restaurants in the area, you can taste typical dishes with truffle, mushroom and ham…satisfied?
This post is also available in: Italian