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Giardino della Minerva

via Ferrante Sanseverino, 1, 84121 Salerno, Italy
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Ranked #7 of 28 attractions in Salerno
Type: Gardens
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.... more » 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. « less
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English first
Hardwick, Vermont, United States
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 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
9 helpful votes 9 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
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
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
41 reviews 41 reviews
20 attraction reviews
32 helpful votes 32 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
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 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
2 helpful votes 2 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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Salerno, Italy
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
19 attraction reviews
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

This is one of the first botanic garden in Europe. It has been recently restored and you can spend a nice half a day there. The view of Salerno you get from there is just gorgeous. Besides, in the garden there is a nice place where you can enjoy an astonishing variety of herbal teas.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Nocera Superiore, Italy
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

As being originally founded as a botinical garden for the medical university in Salerno this is one of the oldest botanical gardens in europe. Next to this the view is very nice :-)

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Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
14 attraction reviews
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2013

Really wanted to see this attraction, but when we arrived we were told the lift wasn't working so not to go..... Very disappointed as it will probably be the last time in Salerno..

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lucianomauro, Direttore at Giardino della Minerva, responded to this review

We are very sorry that you have not visited the Garden. Unfortunately, the elevator will be under maintenance for a month. On the site (www.giardinodellaminerva.it) there are published other alternative pedestrian routes. More

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