The unsuspected story of a Secret Garden in Venice

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    Close to the Santi Apostoli square at the end of the Strada Nuova, hidden behind tall walls, lays a secret garden: the “Giardino di Ca’ Morosini”.

    The garden of Ca’ Morosini is now taken care of by Dominican nuns but, in the past, this marvelous place in the heart of Venice had disappeared for almost 200 years!

    The area on which we now see the garden could already be seen as a cultivated field in the famous De’ Barberi map of Venice of the 1500.

    Property of the Erizzo family, on the side of the canal (rio di s.s. apostoli) the garden gave access to a private casino designed by Palladio and decorated with Veronese’s frescos.

    However, the garden was acquired in the XVII century by the Morosini family, who bought the whole lot and chose to completely destroy the ancient buildings, as well as replacing the garden with an enclosure for wild and exotic animals. Only in 1829, the heirs of the family decided to transform the “family zoo” back into a garden. Even though of relatively recent creation, the garden respects the traditional scheme of Venetian gardens, where ornamental plants blend together with fruit trees and a vegetable garden. Beautiful plants of roses, passion flowers, and American ivy can be seen growing in two arbours, while the garden itself hosts a great variety of plants and trees as Calycanthus, hydrangeas, iris, petunias, snapdragons, mimosas, dahlias, palms, apricots, khakis, figs, pomegranates, olive trees, and cypresses.

    Curious fact:
    – At the end of the of the ‘500, Francesco Sansovino (you might remember his name from a previous Venice360 about the Marciana Library) listed all the main gardens in Venice: 28 in Dorsoduro, 29 in S.Polo, 39 in S.Marco, 46 in Canareggio and 50 in S.Croce, for a total of 192 gardens. The list did not take into account vegetable gardens, public gardens, and gardens belonging to religious orders.

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