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Padua's botanical garden is said to be one of the oldest in Europe dating from 1545 and today still retains much of its original appearance. The gardens and hothouses were used to cultivate the first lilac trees (1568), sunflowers (1568) and potatoes (1590) to be grown in Italy. In its beginning, the gardens were devoted to the growth of medicinal plants since they made up the majority of the remedies directly obtained from nature without any further intervention. The gardens provide nice peaceful and scenic walks and restful relaxation.
Open: 9am-1pm & 3pm-6pm Apr-Oct. 9pm-1pm Nov-Mar.
Between the 'Prato della Valle' and the Basilica there’s one of the most interesting Botanical gardens in Europe: the "Orto Botanico" (1545), with exotic flowers and plants.
It’s another recommended visit in this city. The Garden was in its origins dedicated to cultivate natural medicines.
The Botanical Gardens
Padova's Orto Botanico are really very special...they are the very first academic botanical gardens anywhere. For this reason they are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The gardens were first planted in 1545 by the university's medical department as a collection of herbs and plants with medicinal uses. The gardens are still laid out pretty much as they were originally and each plant is carefully labelled with its Latin name. There are over 6000 plants in total.
The famous 'Goethe' palm is protected by a specially-built greenhouse. I didn't realise palms lived so long (Goethe visited in the 1500s) but signs confirm that this is indeed the same tree (planted in 1585), although it has many separate side-shoots.
There's a pretty impressive collection of cacti and succulents in the other greenhouses, as well as orchids and other tropical plants. And there's an arboretum too, with some very ancient trees as well as some very unusual ones.
I thought this was a lovely place to wander and somewhere which would be super for a shady picnic in the summer heat. Unfortunately, it closes at lunchtimes, so perhaps that isn't a feasible idea!
The gardens are open daily April>October from 9am - 1pm and from 3-7pm. Entrance is 4 euro. There is a (very clean) set of toilets, but you have to ask at the ticket desk for the key.
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Padua's Botanical Gardens were the first ever in Europe, founded in 1545 by Francesco Bonafede for the study of medicinal plants. It's surrounded by a wall, and divided into four sections.
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