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Gardens: A party in the childhood villa of Luchino Visconti

Orticolario, an elegant rendezvous of plant lovers on the shores of Lake Como, has honoured French writer and landscaper Gilles Clément.

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It is in Lombardy, on shores of Lake Como, in Cernobbio, that took place, from Thursday 30 September to Sunday 1 October, 9th edition of Orticolario, a horticultural event that put to honour this year a flower, fuchsia, and a me, moon. This was also occasion for guests and many visitors to meet author of Garden in Motion, Gilles Clément, celebrated with warmth by his Italian admirers.

While reputation of Cernobbio has crossed borders, it is partly thanks to an ancient palazzo transformed into a palace in nineteenth century, Villa d'este, endowed with an extraordinary Renaissance garden embellished with a spectacular wall of mosaics and Nymphaea. This dream resort (not to be confused with its namesake of Tivoli, near Rome), today's luxurious five-star hotel, has seen Gotha of European Courts parade. Before serving as a showcase to gods and goddesses of Hollywood: Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Liz Taylor or, closer to us, Robert de Niro or Georges Clooney, come next door from his villa Oleandra.

The young Luchino spent his holidays at Villa Erba, with his six brors and sisters

But it is in anor villa, equally laden with history, that has settled Orticolario: Villa Erba, which belonged to aristocratic Visconti family, very one of author of damned. This is where young Luchino spent his holidays, with his six brors and sisters, in a wealthy family, says filmmaker himself, but whose far, "though aristocrat, was neir stupid nor uneducated." His mor, deeply admired, "loved worldly life, great dances, sumptuous feasts." And it is not surprising that Villa and its park, up to pier on lake, have inspired it, both for ballroom of cheetah and for seaside atmosphere of death in Venice. He will return even in 1972, to carry out montage of his film about Ludwig II of Bavaria.

A moving Museum

Sold by heirs Visconti in 1986 to a public consortium, villa houses, among or things, a moving museum and serves as a framework for cultural or festive events. The park, it, has been departed from a centre of exhibitions and lectures, and it is in this ensemble that each year horticultural event presided by its founder, Moritz Mantero, descendant of a line of luxury textile entrepreneurs based in Como. It is in an elegant jacket of a very floral yellow that this one lends itself to explanations and begins with Gilles Clément The visit of various plant plants which compete on me of moon. These are named "Dark Side of Moon" or "Dentro alla Luna". Very fifties, installation of Central Pavilion, out of competition, is entitled ... "Luna-Park".

If, presented in different stands, rare plants, decorative objects or garden furniture to famous Italian design do not fail to capture attention of visitors, it is of course conference of Gilles Clément, organized by magazine Transalpine Gardenia, which is to be remembered. It was in a dialogue with writer and historian of gardens Marco Martella that French landscaper captivated his audience. There was talk of "Giardiniere Planetario", "Giardino in Movimento" and "Terzo Paesaggio". The idea of reconciliation of Man with nature, planet being a single and large garden, which must be done with nature and not against it or that urban "neglected" ( third landscape) constitute a reservoir of biodiversity undoubtedly has Sown his seed.

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