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Giardino della Minerva

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Address: via Ferrante Sanseverino, 1, 84121 Salerno, Italy
Phone Number: 089252423
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In the heart of the Medieval town of Salerno, at the back of Fusandola...

In the heart of the Medieval town of Salerno, at the back of Fusandola torrent and of the old Mediaval walls, a terraced fenced orchard is situated. In it the remains of a glorious and rich history can be still seen: it is the so called Minerva’s Garden. This structure develops along the orchard line which from the Town Villa gardens goes up to the Medieval Castle. Minerva’s Garden is exactly situated in the middle of this ideal itinerary and it is certainly the most interesting example of orchard for the art-historical valuesit represents.What is today really striking for any visitor – thanks to a restoration work completed in September 2000 - is an interesting variety of eighteenth century style elements.Among these the most characteristic one is a long staircase emphasized by cross plan pilasters, with stucco decorations supporting a pergola. The staircase, linking and evidently framing the different levels of the garden, ends up to a belvedere-terrace which is also covered with a pergola, it is built on the old walls and allows a wide and privileged view of the sea including the port, the historical centre of the town and the hills.The water system, composed of basins and fountains, one of them for each terrace, with decorations made from calcareous concretions, shows the presence of abundant water sources which, suitably canalized have over centuries allowed – besides other uses – the cultivation of plots of land. This site is characterized by a special microclimate, fostered by a poor influence of north winds and by a favourable exposure, which still today allows the cultivation and spontaneous propagation of plant species needing a particularly moist and warm climate.Since the twelfth century Silvatico family had owned these places, one of its members, Matteo, physician of the Salernitan School of Medicine, between the thirteenth and fourteenth century, distinguished himself as big expert of the plants used for producing remedies. His work called Opus pandectarum medicinae, is a precious collection of information about semplici, that is on parts of plants which were used for producing remedies.In fact, after a careful examination of the historical documents and sources, scholars have proved the existence in the area of the Medieval town of Salerno, of a garden called giardino dei semplici, (garden from which parts of plants were extracted) founded in the first twenty years of 1300 by the Salernitan physician and botanist Matteo Silvatico, for being used by the scholars of the Medical School. In this space of an extraordinary cultural value, which can be today identified just in the area of Minerva’s Garden, the plants from which active principles used for a therapeutic purpose were extracted, were cultivated;besides this, in this place a real didactic activity was carried out in order to show the students of the Medical school the plants with their names and their characteristics (ostensio simplicium).This background testifies that the garden, situated in the area of the old site of the hortus sanitatis of the Salernitan Medical School, can be considered the oldest botanic garden linked to a school of medicine.

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Be prepared for lots of steep stairs!

This is a beautiful little museum in a medieval villa that was remade in the 17th century. The original builder was a doctor who grew and taught about medicinal uses of plants in... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 6 days ago
Indianapolis, Indiana
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284 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
55 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

This is a beautiful little museum in a medieval villa that was remade in the 17th century. The original builder was a doctor who grew and taught about medicinal uses of plants in the then-modern style (how to use herbs to "balance the humors"). The 17th century owner bought it as a derelict and "modernized" it, but kept a lot... More 

Thank moorejjbb
Oakland, California, United States
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Giardino della Minerva has a beautiful view of Salerno, plus the garden itself, with its Arabic influences, its fascinating water collection system, is lovely and peaceful. Salerno had one of the premier medical institutions during Medieval times, and the gardens detail the importance of herbs and plants to medicine during that time.

Thank Nancy H
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015

A botanical garden and a beautiful place in the heart of Salerno. To get there you have to walk for a while, through different typical lanes around the old town, which is definitely plenty of amazing places to visit while you are walking to reach the Gardens. A lot of different botanical species: after the restoration, there were planted a... More 

Thank Morgenr m
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2015

A very interesting and we'll presented garden which tells the visitor of the importance of plants in medieval medicine and how early medical practitioners relied on the teachings of Greek philosopher Galen.

Thank Neil R
Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
141 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2015

A medieval herb garden that reconstructs and memorializes the wisdom of the first medical college in Europe. Even more fascinating if you bring a little encyclopedia of herbs because there is no information about what the plants are used for.

1 Thank Bulbe
Level Contributor
22 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2015

Wonderful views and tea from this garden spot high above Salerno. Not easy to find, but it's worth it.

Thank Anamericaninitaly-km
Salerno, Italy
Level Contributor
68 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2015

in this garden you may see how medioeval took care of their healt with medical grass and plants. this bothanical garden has three level from which you can have a look to Salerno

Thank annamaria2470
Bolton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2015

We enjoyed a couple of hours here, lots of steps to get there (we discovered later there is a lift) but well worth it. Fascinating place with 5 terraces, great views. Plants were originally grown for their medicinal qualities and there is lots of info and history on how the garden originated and what the plants were used for, pioneering... More 

2 Thank sharonmawdesley
Salerno, Italy
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2015

Fascinating insite into the way medicine used to be done. Lovely terraced gardens all plants are named , the watering system is cool.

1 Thank Sharon P
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2015

It is a walk from the center, but it is definitely worth it. Our visit was so peaceful, charming and relaxing. I would definitely come back next time we are in Salerno! So educational too!

2 Thank AVStravel

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