Garden policy: ITALY

 Institution(s) in charge


 Other actors

  • From 1986 to 2006 the National Committee for the study and preservation of historic gardens has worked as an advisory organism of the MiBACT. The committee's activity is documented by many publications, which are a reference point for operators and scholars in the field. One of the principal activities of the Committee was to create other centers of study and research on the protection of historic parks and gardens.
  • The Parks and Gardens of Italy Association (APGI)
    The Association of Parks and Gardens of Italy (APGI) is a private non-profit organization, legally recognized, established with the objective of becoming the national organization of reference and coordination of agencies and entities - public or private - that deal with parks and gardens, an important sector of the Italian cultural heritage but not adequately protected and enhanced. Promoted by Arcus SpA, a company owned by the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities and Tourism, APGI protects and enhances Italian landscape and cultural heritage. The Ministry of heritage and cultural activities and tourism has supported APGI’s mission from the beginning and has signed with it, in September 2012, a cooperation protocol for the implementation of projects aimed at increasing protection and enhancement of parks and historical gardens. The main strategic objectives of the Association are based on the view that parks and historic gardens are a relevant part of our cultural heritage (and as such are protected and safeguarded by law). In Italy, their development and knowledge actually reflects a significant delay compared to other European countries where there is a more lively tradition of restoration and conservation (and where there are many associations that promote initiatives in this area). The Association intends to carry out concrete actions in the public interest, promote the culture of gardens and ask public administration to address the main shortcomings of the sector. (President: Paolo Pejrone, Vice President: Alberta Campitelli, Scientific Committee President: Vincenzo Cazzato).
  • Fondazione Benetton  (Via Cornarotta 7 31100 Treviso.)
    The Benetton Foundation work starts in 1987; places at the center of its scientific objectives of the studies and research on territory and landscape: the history, the geography, the natural and cultural heritage; It has a rich documentation center: library, archives, map library. Inside The center studies the landscape, founded before the adoption of the European Landscape Convention (in the year two thousand), plays a wide activities of study and research with the organization of conferences, seminars, study tours, experimental laboratories on life and the shape of the places, and the care of publications for their knowledge, preservation and enhancement. The project that best characterizes this area of work is the International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens, since the first edition of 1990 (Director: Marco Tamaro - Scientific Committee President: Luigi Latini)
  • Also in the Soprintendenze (offices of the MiBACT in the territories of the Regions) have been set up specialized working groups in the field of maintenance of historic gardens and restoration.
  • Grandi Giardini Italiani* private association with a network of 100 gardens visited in Italy, that promotes meetings and publications (President: Judith Wade).
  • Gruppo Giardino Storico dell’Università di Padova*. Active for 25 years, an official from the University of Padua, annually organizes courses for teachers, professionals or enthusiasts on issues concerning the gardens and landscape. It also organizes conferences with international  experts  (Director: Antonella Pietrogrande).
  • Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano*. Counterpart of the English National Trust, is non-profit association that has ownership or management (rely on the state or other public institutions) important villas and historical gardens (President: Andrea Carandini).
  • ReGIS: Network of historic gardens of Lombardy (Direttore: Laura Sabrina Pellissetti)
  • Associazione Dimore Storiche Italiane*. It brings together the owners of historic homes, many with important constrained gardens (Presidente: Moroello Diaz Pallavicini.)
  • Parco più Bello d’Italia. Private association operating for 15 years, selects and awards every year the most beautiful park, one for the public and one for private ones gardens (President: Leandro Mastria, Scientific Committee President: Vincenzo Cazzato)
  • Fondazione Ente Ville Vesuviane*. It brings together the many historic mansions of the territory (Presidente: Paolo Francesco Romanello).
  • Associazione Ville Venete. Private association of the owners of the villas of the territory.
  • Associazione delle Ville e Palazzi  Lucchesi*. It brings together the many historic mansions of the territory  (Presidente: Vittoria Colonna)
  • UGAI*. Union of Italian Garden Club with widespread presence throughout the national territory. (Presidente: Rosalba Caffi Dallaro)
  • Istituto Regionale Ville Tuscolane*. Institute of relevance of the Lazio Region, brings together owners, public and private, in the Tuscolano area
  • Associazione Ville e Giardini di Puglia*

N.B. The Association marked with an asterisk are part of APGI 


 Relevant legislation

The Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape (Legislative Decree no. 42 of 2004) (art.10, art.136)


 Protection measures

Italy owns about 10.000 villas, historic parks and gardens of which the half part undergoing specific measures of protection. Many of the large villas and urban parks or gardens are state property (state or local authorities: municipalities, provinces, regions) and open to the public, some have even been declared World Heritage Site. The Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape (Legislative Decree no. 42 of 2004) (art.10, art.136) states that villas, parks and gardens are subject to protective measures not only for artistic or historic reasons but also for "uncommon beauty”. Even the gardens of private property declared of historic and artistic interest are subject to a particular legal regime. As cultural properties historic gardens may not be destroyed, managed or adapted to uses not compatible with their historical or artistic natur or such kind as to prejudice their conservation. The possessors /holders of villas, gardens and parks " may not destroy them or introduce modifications which may harm the landscape values which are to be protected…the possessor shall be obliged to submit the plans of the works they intend to carry out to permission of the Region”.


 Existing inventories

Ville, Parchi e Giardini per un Atlante del patrimonio vincolato, a cura di Vi(ncenzo Cazzato, Roma 1992; 

Number of parks included in this inventory : 3.282 distributed on italian territory  (Piemonte n.233 ; Liguria n.157; Lombardia 605; Veneto 742; FRiuli Venezia Giulia 117; Emilia Romagna 334; Toscana 585; Umbria 22; Marche  78; Lazio 109; Abruzzo 21 ; Campania 170; Puglia  85 ; Basilicata 23 ; Calabria 14; Sardegna 14).


 Online information

The garden is analytically studied in all its components (architectural, plant, water, geological, topographic, environmental, etc.).

For this purpose, the Central Institute for the Documentation and Cataloging of Ministry for cultural heritage, cultural activities and tourism ( MiBACT ) has drawn a record that allows you to enter all useful data  through the Italian system of cataloging SIGEC.

In this system it was created a model for historic parks and gardens, the model PG, with many attached documents: maps, pictures and a botanic attached PG/B with botanical, enviromental and climatic informations. The Inventory project aims at making a complete reconnaissance of the existing parks and historic gardens of Italy contributing to the overall picture of the reality of this heritage, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, through a database made of uniform and comparable data.

Also APGI carries out the census in close cooperation with the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities and Tourism (DG BeAP) and, in particular, in accordance with procedures and technical standards dictated by the Central Institute for Cataloguing and Documentation (ICCD).

The database APGI is open to the contribution of the users of the site (from ordinary citizen to possessors/owners of gardens), all those who wish to report a garden to be enhanced, should fill a specific form available in the Contact section of the web portal 


 Specialised training

In Italy there are many courses in University for the specialization in the protection of historic parks and Giradini: among the main ones: 

Architecture of parks, gardens and nature-environmental systems (2 years)I


 Awareness-raising actions

Some events :

  • Roma, Auditorium Parco della Musica Festival del verde e del paesaggio, 13-15 may 2016  Discussions, book presentations and various cultural events.
  • Milan, ICOM International Conference on "Museums and Cultural Landscapes" in collaboration with the MiBACT, 3 to 9 July 2016. 
  • A census of all Italian museums that deal with landscape is now underway 
  • The APGI in collaboration with the Italian Touring Club, is publishing a guide of the main Italian gardens, whose release is scheduled for June 2016.


 Terminology tools

Ricerca sul lessico di parchi e giardini, a c.di P.Roccasecca, Ministero per i Beni culturali e ambientali, Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione, Roma 1990 ;  italian and english



  • V. Cazzato (a cura di), Tutela dei giardini storici, bilanci e prospettive, Roma 1989.
  • M. Boriani, L.Scazzosi (a cura di), Il giardino e il tempo conservazione e manutenzione delle architetture vegetali, Milano 1992.
  • V. Cazzato (a cura di), Ville, Parchi e Giardini per un Atlante del patrimonio vincolato, Roma 1992
  • V. Cazzato, M. Fagiolo, M.A. Giusti, Teatri di verzura. La scena del giardino dal Barocco al Novecento , Firenze, 1993
  • V. Cazzato, M. Fagiolo, M.A. Giusti, Lo specchio del Paradiso. Giardino e teatro dall’antico al Novecento, Cinisello Balsamo 1997
  • V. Cazzato, M. Fresa (a cura di), I nostri giardini – tutela, conservazione, valorizzazione, gestione, Roma Gangemi, 2004
  • G. Rallo, M. Cunico, M. Azzi Visentini, Paesaggi di villa. Architettura e giardini nel Veneto, Marsiulio 2016