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Villa San Michele

Villa San Michele
Architecture
The Museum
The Collection
Luisa Casati Stampa

Axel Munthe

Biography
The Royal Connection
The Story of San Michele
Historic Photo Album
Axel Munthe Today
Munthe’s BBC Program

The Garden

The Garden
The Gardener
Rare Plants
Prizes and Mentions
Barbarossa the Castle
Birds

The Foundation

The Foundation
The Board

Café & Events

Café Casa Oliv
Aperitivo con Billy
Private Events at Villa San Michele
The Museum Shop

Cultural events

News
Cultural events
Collaborations and links


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The Garden

The garden at Villa San Michele has been called the most beautiful in Italy. It begins in the shade of the wisteria of the pergola, culminates bathed in sunlight on the Sphinx terrace and finds its end along an elegant avenue of cypresses. Every season has its flowers and scents of camellias, tree peonies, hydrangeas, vines and orange blossom.

When Munthe bought the land at the end of the 19th century, the terraces which rose up the mountain formed the base on which he created his garden. The greenery is a natural continuation of the villa and the sculpture loggia. When Munthe wrote that his home should be like a Greek temple, open to wind and light and the sounds of the sea, it was perhaps this he meant. Do you think the dining room inside the Villa seems small and dark? It was the pergola where Munthe sat with his guests; the Bay of Naples his back-drop, the sky his ceiling and birdsong the background music.

The garden spirals gently upwards. You will find all kinds of trees and plants: African lilies, Caucasian pomegranates, Italian pines, Japanese hydrangeas, a rare Australian myrtle and even a Swedish birch tree!

The glories of the garden in San Michele are an intoxicating experience, a heavenly blend of nature and culture. The Swedish sculptor Carl Milles wrote that the pergola was the most beautiful expression of the infinite he had ever encountered. Because the pergola follows the rounded contour of the rock, it actually seems endless. On a misty day, when the horizon is obliterated, you can really get the impression that the garden is floating in the air, high above the noise and bustle of the island.
”On a misty day, when the horizon is obliterated, one can really get the impression that the garden is floating in the air, high above the noise and bustle of the island.”