Castello di Vignanello near Rome, is owned by
Princess Claudia Giada Ruspoli. Originally part of the papal estates, the castle
was built in the 9th. century by Benedictine monks. In the course of its long
history the fortress has been occupied by a series of noble families who added
important modifications. The first feudal owner was Beatrice Farnese in 1531 who
was followed by the Marescotti family.
Today, the castle is as it was planned by Ottavia Orsini in 1610. The garden, which still retains its original form, must be considered one of the most beautiful parterres in Italy. Of rectangular shape, the garden is divided by four paths and subdivided into twelve compact parterres of box, giving the impression of a geometrical drawing. In the centre there is a large pond with four balusters. Originally, instead of box the geometrical pattern was laid out in rosemary and sage. Ottavia incorporated her initials and those of her two children in the design. Its elegance and sophisticated beauty reflect the style and fashion of the rinascimental italian period and survived the strong 17th century french influence and has remained entirely true to Ottavia Orsini's original plan.
The Vignanello parterres among the best preserved in Italy are a living example of the "Italian Garden.". The Giardino, has been always in the possession of the same family and this made it possible to retain its original layout and a "family atmosphere", this characteristic is difficult to find in gardens of the same period and it allows us to follow the evolution of the hedges inside the parterres, the use of the bushes that delimited the compartments, the spalliere that can be found in the Barchetto and the Barco.
Presently, the design of the garden of Vignanello is still set out in twelve patterns of box, it is composed of hedges of laurel (Laurus Nobilis), Prunus laurocerasus Viburnum sinus and box (box sempervirens). Originally planted as flowerbeds the geometrical designs made with lower box hedges are based on the initials of Ottavia Orsini, of her sons, Sforza and Galeazzo, and are placed in the center beds of the garden under the windows of the castle.
Box hedges also define the compartments of the Frutteto which was in the Marescotta estate directly connected to the garden.
The secret garden, often called Giardinetto segreto because of its size, is a lower level terrace with a southern exposure, sheltered by a tall wall reaching the level of the garden.
The installation of the garden and the relationship to the town, castle on one side and the Barco Parco on the other, its the continuity with the rest of the feudal property. The garden was conceived metaphorically as a hedge between built areas and the countryside, between the "domestic" and the "wild". This is an example of the evolution of the architecture of the Palaces and Villas of the Viterbese area.
The project is baptized "Barcho" after
the old Italian name for the Parks of the Renaissance castles, and forms part of
the Raffaello program within the European Commission.
The project consists of the restoration of three European Renaissance gardens. The duration of the project is from March 1 until September 30th, 1999. The three participants are:
Chateau d'Ambleville, Ambleville, France; Huis Beeckestijn, Velsen-Zuid, the Netherlands; Castello Ruspoli, Vignanello, Italy.
Together these gardens show a perfect line of development from the Renaissance's origin (Castello Ruspoli), its survival in the eighteenth century (Huts Beeckestijn) and its revival in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Chateau d'Ambleville). They represent a European tradition which, in its different shapes and forms, was to remain viable during seven centuries of garden art.
The project "Renaissance of the Renaissance" also consists of a series of workshops for young people and students from European countries, which will take place in the three gardens. The participants will be made aware of the restoration of gardens along the Renaissance theme, and will be offered a broader vision regarding preservation and restoration.
An International Symposium on the results of the "Barcho" project will be held in Vignanello at Castello Ruspoli on September 7-9, 1999.
Eurotec Consulting, Brussels
Project Leader: Joke van der Aar, Velsen, Netherlands
Scientific Coordination: Wim Meulenkamp and Theo Wit, Netherlands.
Chateau d'Ambleville, Ambleville. Owner; Stephanie Marquise de Villefranche.
Huis Beeckestijn, Velsen-Zuid. Owner: Municipality of Velsen,
Castello Ruspoli, Vignanello. Owners Donna Claudia e Donna Giada Ruspoli
Nell'853, quando Vignanello era parte dello stato Pontificio, venne edificata
la rocca dai frati Benedettini. La prima feudataria di Vignanello fu Beatrice
Farnese nel 1531. Nel 1536 Papa Paolo III Farnese confermò, alla morte di
Beatrice, la discendenza alla figlia Ortensia, sposata a Sforza Marescotti. Il
castello subì una trasformazione secondo gli schemi architettonici Ghibellini,
su disegno del Sangallo. Il castello allo stato attuale è come lo volle nel
1610 Ottavia Orsini, moglie di Marc'Antonio Marescotti, figlia di Vicino Orsini
creatore del suggestivo giardino di Bomarzo.
Nel 1704 il castello prende il nome di Ruspoli, con l'obbligo di tramandare il nome. Oggigiorno è ancora residenza estiva dei discendenti della famiglia Ruspoli. Questo giardino è da considerarsi uno dei più bei parterres esistente in Italia. Seppur creato nel '600 ha mantenuto sino ad oggi la sua struttura originaria: lo spazio perfettamente rettangolare è attraversato da quattro viali, suddiviso in dodici parterres di bosso allineati, squadrati e compatti. Il giardino ha la nitidezza e perfezione di un disegno geometrico, al centro della piana si adagia una grande vasca recinta da quattro arcate di balaustre. Originariamente salvia e rosmarino creavano le linee geometriche: oggi è il bosso a scandire queste storiche geometrie.
La castellana Ottavia ha lasciato una traccia indelebile del suo amore per questo giardino: l'incisione delle proprie iniziali e di quelle dei suoi due figli Sforza e Galeazzo, permettendo così la certa datazione della nascita del giardino. L'eleganza e la sofisticata bellezza riflettono lo stile e la moda del periodo rinacimentale italiano. Nonostante i forti cambiamenti di stile, specialmente verso la fine del '700 con le 'broderies francese', il giardino si è mantenuto intatto.