Location: The dreamy gardens of Torrecchia nestle against the crumbling ruins of a medieval village and castle, perched on a volcanic hilltop just south of Rome and command spectacular views of the unspoilt 1500 acre estate.
Design brief: Evolve the semi-mature garden so that it better connected with the estate to create a romantic yet elegant garden
Approach: I began on this project twelve years ago with the owners Carlo Caracciolo and Violante Visconti and had the great fortune to work alongside Dan Pearson, who originally designed the garden; I believe I have learned much from him and his sensitive approach. Over the last few years I have been developing the garden on my own. I thought much about the spirit of place and it was clear that the garden should merge effortlessly with that wonderful feeling the estate beyond has. So I began developing individual areas of the garden, helped by enclosures created by the ruins, enabling me to make gardens with their own mood; where new colours and ideas have been introduced to the restrained palette of green, white and rich blues which flows through the garden. I began cultivating a style I call selvatico-curato, which I define as the very tenuous equilibrium between ‘wild’ and ‘controlled’ that I felt was right for the garden. I brought in wild cyclamen and wildflowers which were planted into long grass left to grow beneath trees. Small marguerites, wild carrot and other wild plants were encouraged in the paving.
The result was to give an air of simple, romantic elegance verging on the wild. Old climbing roses, wisteria and jasmines cascade from the crumbling walls and towers adding to the magical atmosphere.
Torrecchia has been described as one of Italy’s most beautiful private gardens.