This is the oft-visited home of Frances Mayes, the ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ author, called Bramasole. Mayes has a dedicated website and blog here, under the Random House (Broadway Books) banner where more photos of her home, neighbourhood and travels can be seen.
This is a view of the walled garden that you can only experience if you’re invited onto the grounds of the house. More often than not, pilgrims visit the Tuscan landmark and must be satisfied with a shot from down below…
…like this one taken by a visitor who almost left empty-handed until a local pointed them in the right direction.
The flowering plants that thrive at Bramasole are sun-lovers like roses and lavender. The dry heat on this sunny hillside promotes excellent growth and allows for free drainage so plants’ roots don’t sit in puddles and rot.
But Bramasole’s garden is not really representative of the Tuscan garden tradition; hers is a much more romantic interpretation with effusive flowers tumbling over walls and windowboxes. Italian Renaissance gardens tend to be much more formal and structured, often with a strong axis provided by evergreen sentinels (verticals) and water courses (horizontals). Like this one at the 17th century estate called Villa Gamberaia.
I love both of them.
The liquid and the solid… nowhere else in my recollection have these been composed with such elegant refinement of taste on so human a scale.(…) The whole conception of a garden to live with and in on intimate terms, responsive to loving care and constant culture, has been realized and expanded. It leaves an enduring impression of serenity, dignity and cheerful repose.
Harold Acton, Tuscan Villas. (London 1973).
I’m afraid if I went to Tuscany, I’d never come back!
But that’s if I lived in one of these villas. Or was hired on as the gardener….
If you’d like to read more about Italian gardens in book form, there is a review here at the Thinkin Gardens website of two new tomes. They are:
Great Gardens of Italy, by Monty Don & Derry Moore. Publisher Quadrille Press, £25; 224 pages
Italy’s Private Gardens, by Helena Attlee. Publisher Frances Lincoln, £35; 208 pages