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Giardino della Minerva

Address: via Ferrante Sanseverino, 1, 84121 Salerno, Italy
Phone Number: 089252423
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Ranked #10 of 76 things to do in Salerno
Type: Gardens, Nature & Parks
Owner description: In the heart of the Medieval town of Salerno, at the back of Fusandola torrent and of the old...
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Attraction details
Type: Gardens, Nature & Parks
Owner description: 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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192 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
18 reviews 18 reviews
12 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2015

This is not a very big garden but is set on a number of levels. There is also a terrace where you can sit and order a herbal tea. The garden itself we found a littel difficult to locate and we went through a few not so nice areas to find it but I am glad we did. The staff... More 

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3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2014

This place is absolutely gorgeous. A must see if you visit this wonderful city. One of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe.

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Austin, Texas
4 reviews 4 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

If you like plants, gardening, flowers, medicine, botany or chemistry, you must visit this place. And it's small enough to see in under an hour.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Hardwick, Vermont, United States
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2014

I enjoyed both of my visits to the gardens. The history and theory are very interesting, the gardens are lovely, and the view is outstanding. I also spotted a cat that had recently had kittens, right in the middle of a garden plot.

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New York City, New York
4 reviews 4 reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2014

Just very interesting and calm. I garden at home, so this is truly an incredible garden. There is like a small cafe area where they sell locally grown herbs for teas and such.

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Gothenburg, Sweden
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

We had a really hard time finding it, and when we did. It was closed, so don't go on a Monday ;) but the walk was really interesting .

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Bochum, Germany
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2014

Very nice herb garden in five levels with interesting control of flow of water. In fine state of restauration.

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Elmhurst, Illinois
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
21 attraction reviews
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2014

We had a hard time finding the garden and then weren't sure it was worth it. The location is high above the city, so the view was really nice. The garden itself is on several levels, but is rather small. It is very old and would be of greatest significance for people who are interested in herbal medicines. Perhaps it's... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013

This medical/botanical garden was a little jewel tucked away about the old city. Multi leveled, it was educational and provided gorgeous views of the city and waterfront.

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5 reviews 5 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2013

We loved this place. Nice place to spend an hour or two. Taking the elevator up the hill was a unique experience

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