The Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden of Padua dates back to 1545 and is regarded as the most ancient university garden in the world. Beginning from its foundation, it was devoted to the growth of medicinal plants, since they made up the majority of the "simples", i.e. the remedies directly obtained from nature without any further concoction: for this reason it was named "Hortus Simplicium". The first keeper of the garden was Luigi Squalermo called Anguillara. The Botanic Garden was steadily enriched with plants from all over the world, and especially from those countries connected either politically or commercially with the Republic of Venice. Accordingly, Padua’s garden has played an important role in both the introduction and the study of many exotic plants. This scientific institution has witnessed the evolution of Botany from its initial application of medicine to its many present branches. The establishment of a library, a herbarium and a number of laboratories gradually accompanied the garden’s development. Similarly to analogous university institutions all over the world, the Botanic Garden of Padua carries out intensive teaching as well as scientific research and is involved in the preservation of rare and endangered species. The Botanic Garden of Padua has been included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Tradition has it that the Botanic Garden was planned by the Venetian nobleman Daniele Barbaro and carried out by the architect Andrea Moroni. To this purpose, suggestions were given by the Medieval Horti Conclusi (Enclosed Gardens) while its architectural peculiarity is marked by the perfection of the circle enclosing a square divided into four quadrant (quarti) by two alleys oriented according to the cardinal points. In each quadrant, plants were grown inside small and variously shaped beds, which formed a graceful geometrical pattern. In 1704 the four gates were built and, soon afterwards, a white stone balustrade refined the enclosure wall. The two fountains outside the southern and eastern gates were embellished with statues representing Theophrastus and Solomon with the Four Seasons, respectively. Greenhouses and the botanical theatre date back to the first half of the XIX Century. One of the greenhouses still maintains its original iron arches and slender columns. Until 1984 the oldest plant was a Vitex agnus-castus whose presence had been acknowledged since 1550. At present, a palm (Chamaerops humilis var. arborescens) planted in 1585 is the oldest plant in the garden. It is commonly known as the "Goethe palm" since, in 1786, the famous German writer drew, from a careful study of this palm, his intuitions about evolution, which were published in his essay about Metamorphosis of Plants; this palm grows in a glasshouse located inside the circular garden (Hortus Cinctus). The latter hosts other important trees: a ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) and a magnolis (Magnolia grandiflora), which date back to about the mid-1700s, and are considered among the oldest specimens in Europe. Outside the circular garden, a tall plane tree (Platanus orientalis) has been living in the Arboretum since 1680: its huge trunk was struck by lightning and is now hollow. The Arboretum was started outside the Hortus Cinctus by Giovanni Marsili (1760-1793). It was completed by Roberto de Visiani (1836-1878) who, among others, planted large conifers (cedars and pines) and the two magnolia trees behind the main gate. A huge sectioned stem of an elm tree (Ulmus minor), which died in 1991, is also visible in the Arboretum. Other important trees are some swamp cypresses (Taxodium distichum) from Florida and two specimens of Metasequoia glyptostroboides, the latter known only as a fossil until 1942 and planted in this Garden in 1961. Click on here to visit the Botanical Garden web site

Parks and Naturalistic Sites
The Botanic Garden
via dell'Orto Botanico
35123   Padova   (PD)  
Tel: 049 8273939


Reduced ticket with Padova Card
Bus: 
TRAM, 3, 5, 12, 16, 22, A/M/T
Opening time in Winter: 
01.11-31.03: h.9-17; 01.04-31-05: h.9-19; 01.10-31.10: h. 9-18
Opening time in Summer: 
01.06-30.9: h. 9-19
Closing Time: 
In winter the garden is closed on Sunday. Closed 25.12 e 01.01
Remarks: 
Tickets: €10, €8, €5. Family ticket € 22. Ticket reduced with Arte Terme card.