Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 18, 2015

A very old garden

The botanical garden in Padova is the first of its kind in Europe. It was established in 1545 by decree of the Senate of the Republic of Venice. The chair of the university was keen to further the study of therapeutic medicines coming directly from nature and to develop a scientific basis for the practice of medicine.

The first prefect of the garden, Luigi Squalermo, ordered the cultivation of 2,000 species of medicinal plants. To reduce theft a circular wall was built around the garden and there were harsh punishments for anyone who stole plants.

Padova Botanical Garden

The oldest part of the garden is within this circular wall, which now sits within a larger square.

Padova Botanical Garden

Padova Botanical Garden

Padova Botanical Gardens

Padova Botanical Garden

Padova Botanical Garden

Padova Botanical Garden

Water lilies and other aquatic plants thrive, thanks to the constant temperature of the thermal waters, which come from an artesian well 270 metres deep.

Padova Botanical Garden

Padova Botanical Garden

Padova Botanical Garden

Padova Botanical Garden

There are some notable plants in the botanical garden…the famous Palm of St Peter, planted in 1585. It is known as the Palma Goethe because it inspired the German poet during his voyage to Italy in 1786.

There is a Magnolia Grandiflora planted in 1786, the oldest in Europe and a Ginkgo Biloba planted in 1750. Outside the circular wall is an Oriental Plane Tree dating from 1680.

I would love to show you these, but it started raining heavily before I could find them…I will have to return.

In 1997 the Botanical Garden of Padova was added to the Unesco list of World Heritage Sites, recognised for its contribution to the development of numerous scientific disciplines, such as medicine, chemistry, ecology and pharmacology.

Apart from all of the amazing history, the garden is simply a beautiful place to spend time while in Padova.



  1. The Botanical Gardens in Padova, Pisa and Florence were all established between 1544 and 1545, only months apart. I have not visited the Padova one, but I am putting it on my list of places to visit. Personally, I love the “Giardino dei Semplici” in Florence.

    • I have not been to the Florence garden you mention, but I will.

  2. Oh I would love to go there – and you are right it looks so peaceful as well as being a stunning historical success keeping all those species named and flourishing.. the pond lilies are amazing! thank you .. c

    • It is a lovely garden and another lovely surprise in Padova.

  3. Beautiful. Not just what you can see but also what you feel. Peace. Tranquility. Calm. Inspiration

    • The huge old trees are amazing.

  4. Blessed are the Gardeners! Well tended gardens and old gardens in particular are such a joy aren’t they.

    • Yes, they are. I love to see my garden at Casa Debbio grow.

  5. I wonder what medical purpose the angel trumpet served as it’s poisonous. What a great idea. Wish medicine today was derived as naturally.

    • I wonder if it was grown way back then. Maybe it was grown for the poison.

  6. Love those water lilies! The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a nice water garden, but the lily pads are nowhere near that big. I enjoy walking the paths of the garden and look forward to making several visits each spring.

  7. Looks like a beautiful city and the garden is so lovely.

  8. I love gardens! This one is gorgeous – thank you for sharing the lovely photos.

  9. […] time to wander in the Botanical Garden begun in 1545, the first of its kind in  Europe. See my visit […]

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