Flowers & Plants
The wonderful world of tulips
Italy – From March to April, you can immerse yourself in the fabulous world of tulips on a walk through the Great Italian Gardens. Important collections can be admired in the gardens of the network
The first to bloom are the tulips of Beranu Froriu – Il Giardino di Turri in Turri, Sardinia. The garden was created by its owner, Michelangelo Galitzia, who on returning from a trip to Holland was so fascinated by the tulip fields of Keukenhof that he decided to create the first experimental tulip field in Sardinia where the public could admire and buy tulips. That was in 2018. Since then, there has no longer been talk of an experimental field but of a real park divided into two areas: one dedicated to displaying and the other to harvesting. Today in Sardinia, Spring is eagerly awaited by the public to witness the blossoming of tulips and to return home with a colourful vase of tulips. From 150,000 tulips in 2019, there are now more than 300,000 tulips, buttercups, daffodils and anemones in 2021.
Travelling northwards, in Veneto, in Valeggio sul Mincio, it is the extraordinary flowering of more than a million tulips that enters your heart. Every year Parco Giardino Sigurtà inaugurates the new season with its amazing tulip flowering, the Tulipanomania, one of the richest in Italy, second in Europe and awarded in 2019 by the World Tulip Society with the World Tulip Destination Worth Travelling For award, for excellence in the promotion and celebration of the tulip. The design of the flowerbeds, renewed every year, is the result of an in-depth and constant study that guarantees a perfect colour throughout Tulipanomania, and the hundreds of varieties that bloom freely in the woods. The Parco Giardino Sigurtà awaits you with its Tulipanomania in March and April.
In the Parco delle Terme di Levico in Trentino, 40,000 tulips start to bloom in the first ten days of April, sown scatteringly in the meadows. They bloom in striking colour combinations together with dandelions and other wild flowers.
In the extraordinary setting of Pralormo Castle in Piedmont, more than 100,000 tulips and narcissi bloom every spring: soft flowerbeds line the paths and century-old trees, and throughout the month of April the bulbous flowers are combined with those of the park. On the occasion of this flowering, the ancient manor opens to the public with a renowned and eagerly awaited event: Messer Tulipano. Now in its 22nd edition, the Piedmontese event has pioneered the celebration of this elegant flower in Italy and involves the park designed in the 19th century by court architect Xavier Kurten, creator of the most important English-style parks in the Savoy residences. Among the winding avenues of the park you can spot the Shirley tulip, the Queen of night tulip, the Parrot tulip, the Mata Hari tulip. You can find a brief description of these in the attached press release. Themed displays and exceptional scenery make the walk even more impressive. The appointment is from 2 April to 1 May 2022.
Finally, on the Piedmont shore of Lake Maggiore, between Intra and Pallanza, discover the Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens. Here, the extraordinary flowering of 80,000 bulbous plants heralds the arrival of spring. Every year this floral event offers tourists new colour perspectives, skilfully created by the expert gardeners working in the park. The main attraction of the event is undoubtedly the Tulip Maze, a meandering path of about 400 metres in which the visitor is immersed in an incomparable atmosphere created by seductive shades and tones. In addition to the brilliant colours of the tulips, you will also be able to admire the collection of hyacinths, a generous flowering of Camellias, Magnolias, Rhododendrons, Daffodils, Violets and … a colourful blue carpet of blossoming Muscari. We look forward to seeing you at the Villa Taranto Botanic Gardens from 3 to 17 April 2022 with the Tulip Festival.
The origin of the tulip is recounted in a Persian legend which recalls the tragic love of the young Shirin and the beautiful Ferhad: a love that was reciprocated but destined to be broken. Shirin set off in search of fortune and left his beloved to await his return. One day the maiden, tired of waiting, set out in search of her beloved, but fell on sharp stones and wept with the knowledge that she would die without seeing her beloved again. On that ground the tears mixed with blood turned into beautiful red flowers: tulips. Since then, every spring the tulips have bloomed again in memory of this unhappy love.
A symbol of pure, unselfish love, the tulip, cultivated over 1000 years ago in the Ottoman Empire, only arrived in Europe in the 16th century, in Turkey, and from there in 1554, was discovered by the Austrian ambassador who brought it to Vienna. It then travelled from Austria to Paris and finally to Holland.
The name ‘tulip’ comes from the Turkish ‘tullband’ in reference to the muslin turbans that resemble flowering tulip blossoms.
In the Ottoman Empire, it was synonymous with wealth and power: the sultans organised sumptuous feasts in their royal courts to celebrate the first blossoming of the tulips, and as recounted in the famous collection of fairy tales ‘The Thousand and One Nights’, the sultan would drop a red tulip at the feet of one of the women of the harem to show them which one was the chosen one.
A bit of botany
Yellow, red, purple or white, with their variety of colours, tulips turn your garden or terrace into a cheerful canvas of colour that chases away the greyness of the winter season.
The tulip (Tulipa) belongs to the lily family. In the 16th century, this beauty that originated in the lands of the Ottoman Empire reached Europe and aroused great interest among plant lovers. In the 17th century, the Dutch, caught up in the mania for collecting the rarest varieties, lost incredible amounts of money. The famous ‘Viceroy’ tulip was auctioned off in 1637 for 4,200 guilders; at that time a well-paid craftsman earned only 300 guilders a year.
As the largest genus of bulbous plants, it now comprises almost 150 species, varying in size and flower type; over time, almost 5000 varieties have been hybridised. Depending on the variety, the plant reaches a height of ten to 70 centimetres. The calyxes of the flowers, which are usually bell-shaped, can also have double flowers or fringed petals. Lily-flowered tulips stand out with their pointed, slightly curled petals.
The bulbs, planted in autumn, will start to bloom, depending on the species and variety, from March to May. With a combination of early-, medium- and late-flowering tulip varieties, you can enjoy a colourful sea of flowers until the warm weather arrives, which puts an end to the flowering and puts the bulb to rest.
Tulips like to grow in sunny areas; shady or semi-shady places can significantly reduce their life expectancy and you risk seeing lots of leaves but no flowers.
Source: Grandi Giardini Italiani