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“The first botanical garden” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Giardino della Minerva

Giardino della Minerva
via Ferrante Sanseverino, 1, 84121 Salerno, Italy
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Ranked #8 of 28 Attractions in Salerno
Type: Gardens, Outdoors
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Attraction details
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.
Nocera Superiore, Italy
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“The first botanical garden”
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 :-)

Visited July 2013
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179 reviews from our community

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English first
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
40 helpful votes 40 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..

Visited May 2013
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lucianomauro, Direttore at Giardino della Minerva, responded to this review, May 30, 2013
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.
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Naples, Italy
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Unique and Lovely”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

The lovely ladies that ran the B&B we stayed at recommend this place. Although there are signs it's definitely not right off a main road and we were happy they showed us the way. It's basically an ancient garden with all kinds of herbs and plants. We were there in December and it was a little chilly and overcast but it was still a lovely experience. The views of the city and bay are spectacular and it's just a cool, different place to go. I would love to go back in the spring or summer and see the differences. It doesn't take long to explore b/c it's not a really large space but it's definitely worth going to see.

Visited December 2012
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Rome, Italy
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Unique and very romantic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

A small-scale, unique and very romantic place, perched high in the Upper Old Town well hidden away in a tiny alley off the Via Tasso with its grand, dilapidated palazzi. The staff are learned and very helpful, the plants unique and the signing refers back to Ancient Greek understanding of botany, the Garden being an extraordinary survivor from the 12-13th Century. Enjoy the view over the entire Gulf of Salerno and sip a herbal tea or a liquor made from the plants that grow there by the staff themselves

Visited December 2012
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Best herbal tea!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

Gardens very small but beautiful. Tisanery incredible, I ended up having three cups of tea they were so good. Mint, liquorice and rosemary, wow!! Lovely shop as well selling local produce e.g. honey and chocolate.

Visited November 2012
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