Lucca's Botanical Garden was created together with a Physics Laboratory and an Astronomical Observatory, both of which still exist. The earliest image of the 19th-century garden appears on the Sinibaldi map (1843), which shows the organisation of the so-called "formal areas", now referred to as the Arboreto (arboretum), the Montagnola (hill) and the Laghetto (the lake, which was not created until after 1860). Whereas the Montagnola, which today has numerous species of plant typical of Lucca's more mountainous parts, has retained its characteristic spiral layout, the Arboreto has lost the original geometrical layout of its parterre.
Today's collection has around two hundred species, including early-flowering azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. In 1920 the Orto Botanico became the property of the City of Lucca, and was turned into a public garden. The garden's decorative elements include a series of large ceramic medallions illustrating milestones in the botanical garden's history, such as changes of directorship, the planting of the prized Lebanon cedar (1822) that has now grown into a splendid specimen (and also the oldest in the whole arboretum), and the Congress of Scientists who gathered in Lucca in 1843. Other ornamental elements include the gate whose pillars are decorated with relief laurel leaves and are topped by two lions, thought to have been sculpted by Lorenzo Nottolini; a sphinx and a particularly large pumpkin, both in terracotta, adorn the octagonal pool in which aquatic plants are cultivated. At the end of this central avenue, near the lake is a group of fine Virginia cypresses.
mon/fri: 9:30 am - 12:30 am
26 march/30 april: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
may/june: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm;
july-16 september: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
17 sept-oct: 10:00 am - 5:00
Tickets: 3.00 ¤ - reduced 2.00 ¤
For further informations:
Tel: +39 0583 442160
Fax: +39 0583 442161