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In springtime, urban parks and gardens in the cities of the Amalfi Coast are a popular destination for families and nature lovers. Varying in size, they are home to many different species of plants and are spread all over: let's find out where they are and what's special about them!

by Roberta Cascone

The towns of the Amalfi Coast are best known for their city centers, which consist of mazes of narrow streets full of trendy clubs and stores.  Just inside these mazes are some urban parks, which are true green lungs for the coastal towns. With the arrival of spring, then, they are tinged with a thousand colors and are even more beautiful to visit and explore-they are the perfect places to leave the city chaos behind and relax in touch with nature! Here's a list of the ones you can not miss!

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Villa Rufolo's flowerbeds

The Exotic Cimini Garden in Maiori

The Beniamino Cimini Exotic Garden is attached to the San Lazzaro Botanical Hotel in Maiori and is also accessible to outside visitors. It is named after its creator, who came up with the idea of combining the cultivation of lemons with a collection of many exotic plants. The garden covers about 3500 square meters and is formed by terraces overlooking the sea. Here you will find about 2,000 varieties of cacti and succulents, an orchidarium, a small organic vegetable garden, and finally a rose garden that includes 30 varieties of roses from around the world.

Villa Cimbrone’s and Villa Rufolo’s gardens in Ravello

The world-famous Ville Cimbrone and Rufolo in Ravello need no introduction, but here, in addition to the breathtaking terraces and stately residences, you can also admire the gardens full of exotic and Mediterranean plants.

The garden of Villa Cimbrone is a magnificent example of an English garden. The main avenue (called “Viale dell’Immenso”) is surmounted by an arbor of wisteria sinensis, that is, a wisteria with very large clusters. Among rows of plane and pine trees are colorful hydrangeas, beds of peonies, giant dahlias and a rare 150-year-old recurved nolina. Along the way we also find classic Mediterranean scrub, with gorse bushes and lemon trees. 

Villa Rufolo's gardens were renovated by Francis Neville Reid, a Scottish philanthropist and botanical expert. He is credited with creating an irrigation system in order to care for the many species of plants and flowers, both native and exotic. The driveway is adorned with linden trees; American maples, Japanese chucks and palm trees of various types grow in the chapel area. The upper garden is filled with hydrangeas and cordilleras, and a 100-year-old specimen of lodgepole pine also stands out here; finally, the lower garden is decorated with Japanese wisteria, beautiful fuchsia bougainvillea, specimens of banksiae roses, and even an African baobab tree.

Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone gardens

The “Giardino della Minerva” in Salerno

In the historic center of Salerno is the Minerva Garden, an ancient botanical garden dating as far back as the 12th century. In 1300 Master Matteo Silvatico grew plants there for therapeutic purposes, and then he used them with his pupils at his medieval Medical School. Over the centuries the garden passed from family to family until, in 1991, it was restored by the city administration and dedicated precisely to Silvatico. The gardens are laid out on terraces, connected by canals, pools, and fountains. Today fruit trees, such as lemons, oranges, and cedars, medicinal plants, including marigold, aloe, and common marshmallow, and finally herbs such as chives and spearmint can be seen. Finally, each year in April, the garden is publicized at the Minerva Exhibition, a market-exhibition of rare plants and garden objects, held inside Salerno's Villa Comunale.

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Minerva Garden

The Secret Garden of the Soul in Tramonti

In Tramonti, in the hinterland of the Amalfi Coast, is the so-called Secret Garden of the Soul. The name is very special and evocative: it is "secret" because it is protected by high hedges and therefore not very visible from the outside, and "of the soul" because it is designed to induce those who visit it to a deep reflection on the emotions aroused by the garden itself. Conceived in 1999 by the Telese - De Marco family, it extends over 8 sloping terraces, and includes a citrus grove, a rose garden with 300 varieties, an aromatic and medicinal plant section, and a large collection of flowers. Camellias, hydrangeas, magnolias, wisteria and lilacs follow one another in this beautiful garden, which is open to the public from April to October.

The Irno Park and the Pinocchio Park in Salerno

On the banks of the Irno River in Salerno, the Irno Park and Pinocchio Park, so-called for the presence of a statue dedicated to Pinocchio created by artist Antonio Petti, are two large green lungs covering an area of 35,000 square meters. The result of a major restoration work where there was once a brick factory, they are now spaces for events and play and recreational activities for young people and children. From a botanical point of view, as many as 7 thematic gardens are distinguished in Irno Park, according to the botanical species housed there: the "garden of centenarians," the "garden of medicinal plants," the "garden of roses," the "garden of fruits," the "garden of Mediterranean herbs," the "garden of magnolias," and finally the "garden of citrus trees."

The Villa Comunale in Salerno

A short walk from Salerno's waterfront is the city's busiest garden. The villa is enclosed and was designed in the late 1800s by architect Casalbore. After a period of neglect, it was renovated in 1997, when the green area was enlarged and provided with new plants of Mediterranean culture, and the paths redesigned, with all the paving resurfaced. Inside there are some statues dedicated to Italian patriots, such as Giovanni Nicotera and Carlo Pisacane, and today it is home to some events, such as the traditional Minerva Exhibition, and the Christmas event “Luci D’Artista”. 

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The Villa Comunale

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