If you love gardens, Giardino (Garden) of Valsanzibio is a must see.
A member of the Grandi Giardini Italiani, or Great Italian Gardens, the Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio lays in the beautiful area of the Euganean Hills, in the Province of Padua, in Galzignano Terme. It was founded 352 years ago by Venetian nobleman GiovanFrancesco Barbarigo; his son, Cardinal Gregorio, inspired the landscaping as a symbolic road trip to Salvation, where visitors stroll along statues, fountains, ponds, water games, trees and plants, a rabbit island and a labyrinth.
I was impressed by the beautiful 350 years old California Cedar, the oldest tree of this specie in Europe, and by a Sequoia, the only one I’ve seen outside of the U.S. The rabbits on the island were fun and the labyrinth amused me, it offers a nice view of the garden from the tower in the center. The water games are entertaining and I can picture kids happily running through them in a hot summer day!
My husband and I went in February as it had just reopened after the winter rest; we spent about 1,5 hours strolling around and we had our little puppy with us. In typical Italian fashion, dogs are officially NOT allowed, but an exception may be possible for small, well behaved dogs that are kept on short leash at all times. Also, dogs are not allowed in the labyrinth (when we visited, the latter was closed for the seasonal pruning and we could only access the tower in the middle). Entrance fee for adults is 11 Euro and for children up to 14 it’s 6,50 Euro. At the time of our visit, there was a very friendly and informative lady at the ticket office and another lady inside the garden who told us some of the history of the place in English.
In the old stables there are a picnic area with vending machines (coffee, drinks and snacks), toilets and an outside area with some benches and a water fountain. For more information before your visit (opening times, special events, address), check their website: https://www.valsanzibiogiardino.it/en/.
The property also includes Villa Barbarigo Pizzoni Ardemani which is unfortunately closed to the public, but available for private hire and for filming or photo shooting. Fancy vacationing in an Italian Villa? Check out these photos: https://www.valsanzibiogiardino.it/en/renting/ and dream about living in those rooms…now open your eyes and know you can vacation there.
Looking for a special place to propose to your loved one? The labyrinth can be booked for private use for 30 minutes at sunset just for this purpose!
As walking throughout the gardens made us hungry, we went to a restaurant recommended by the ladies that work there and had a very good lunch at Trattoria al Bigolaro, a local gem that few tourists know about. It offers homemade pasta such as local specialty “bigoli” (egg pasta similar to spaghetti, only thicker) and meats as pigeon, grilled meats, rabbit stew, wild boar and pork shank. We had the bigoli with duck sauce, beef stew and homemade tiramisu, plus the excellent house red wine, and left happy! The total bill was very reasonable and service was impeccable; the restaurant and the bathroom were spotless clean (always a pleasure when traveling). As a note, since this is not a touristic place, staff doesn’t speak English. Here is the website of the Trattoria, I’d be happy to hear from you if you find it and try out: http://www.albigolaro.it/.
This region offers many places of interest for visitors, from castles to spas, from ancient little villages to hikes in the nature among the hills. While waiting for my new posts on my discoveries in the Euganean Hills, check out these websites: http://www.euganeanhills.com/, http://www.stradadelvinocollieuganei.it/en/ andhttp://www.euganeamente.it/le-cime-dei-colli-euganei/ (this last one is only in Italian – contact me if you’d like some help).