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Roman gardens

Vandana s. talikoti

What are Roman gardens..?


The garden was a place of peace and tranquillity a refuge from
urban life and a place filled with religious and symbolic
meanings. As Roman culture developed and became increasingly
influenced by foreign civilizations through trade, the use of
gardens expanded and gardens ultimately thrived in Ancient
Rome.

Roman gardens were


influenced by
Egyptian, Persian,
and Greek gardening
techniques.

Parts of a Roman Garden


Private Roman gardens were generally separated into three parts. The first,
the xystus, was a terrace that served as an open air drawing room and connected
to the home via a covered portico. The xystus overlooked the lower garden,
or ambulation. The ambulation consisted of a variety of flowers, trees, and other
foliage and served as an ideal milieu for a leisurely stroll after a meal, some mild
conversation, or other Roman recreation activities. The gestation was a shaded
avenue where the master of a home could ride horseback or be carried by his
slaves. It generally encircled the ambulation, or was constructed as a separate oval
shaped space.

Xystus was the Greek architectural term for the


covered portico of the gymnasium, in which the
exercises took place during the winter or in rainy
weather

Ambulation: walking from place to place

Uses
Gardens were not reserved for the extremely wealthy. Excavations in Pompeii show that
gardens attaching to residences were scaled down to meet the space constraints of the
home of the average Roman. Modified versions of Roman garden designs were adopted in
Roman settlements in Africa, Gaul, and Britannia.

Formal Garden
A formal garden is a garden whose plantings, paths, pools, fountains etc. follow a
definite plan. The garden is neatly trimmed, often symmetrical, which emphasizes the
geometrical forms. This type of garden is particularly suitable to the gardens of old
houses.
Formal garden design is one of the oldest in the world. This is because formality is a
general and privileged tradition in all Western, Middle Eastern and Eastern Cultures.

This garden is balanced on every side and has perfectly pruned borders that surround
beds. Flowers are constantly blossoming and well manicured. The most popular part of
the formal garden are the topiary plants. These plants are clipped into the geometric
shapes or various shapes of fish, animals and other objects. They also contain statues
and other ornamentation. Garden paths and garden benches are common in a formal
garden. A focal point is very essential in this garden, which can be a fountain or a pool.
Below are mentioned the golden rules for formal garden design:
geometry
viewpoint
linkage
pattern
balance
symmetry
vista

Roman garden is a Landscape garden design, which was introduced in England in the
beginning of 18th century. It is also called as English landscape park. This English garden had
become popular all over the Europe, which replaced the 17th century, symmetrical and
formal style garden, "Garden a la francaise". It had become the principal garden style of
Europe. English gardens represent the ideal nature view and were very much inspired by the
paintings of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorraine. Generally, in an English garden, there may
be a lake or pond, establishing rolling lawns opposite the tree groves and structures of
bridges, ruins and some other architecture.

Belvedere garden court at the Vatican


Rome, comparatively late in developing
the new form of gardens, was also behind
Florence in ornamenting her gardens with
statues. It was the man who made Romes
future.
The Belvedere court was at that time for
practical purposes greater than it is now,
for the corridors and corner rooms where
the statues are had not then been made.
In the vast space there was a garden,
which the ambassadors from Venice, who
were left there for a while in 1523,
described in glowing colours.

On the faade he had antique pillars set, with their pediments and capitals. In the
renaissance sketch, which shows the gardens in an unfinished state, there are statues
on the longer side placed opposite one another in two rows, and the short sides are
filled in with open colonnades, sarcophagi treated like friezes, and other fragments of
reliefs, and below these are pieces of the Ara Pacis, let into the walls,

COURT OF THE BELVEDERE, ROMESITE-PLAN

a garden structure
within the colossal semicircular niche, with a loggia on the top,
giving the finest possible view over landscape and town. On both sides of the
garden there were colonnades, open on the inside, but
walled in outside so as to give that feeling of seclusion which the garden
needed, In the middle the Pope had an antique shell fountain set
up in the second year. The length of 306 metres was given to Bramante, and he
chose to have the comparatively narrow width of 75
metres, because of the situation of the somewhat high terraces; seen from
below the width seemed quite the right proportion

Roman mosaic gardens


The Villa Romana del Casale
(Sicilian: Villa Rumana d Casali) is
a Roman villa built in the first
quarter of the 4th century and
located about 3 km outside the
town of Piazza Armerina, Sicily,
southern Italy. Containing the
richest, largest and most complex
collection of Roman mosaics in the
world,[1] it is one of 44 UNESCO
World Heritage Sites in Italy.[2]

"Early Roman mosaics belonged to the floor";[2]


except in Nero's Domus Aurea,[3] there is little
evidence of ambitious wall mosaics before the
Christian period, even at Pompeii and surrounding
sites, where their chances of survival were better
than elsewhere. The famous Alexander Mosaic (c.
100) from Pompeii, arguably the finest pre-Christian
mosaic to survive, was a floor, and the main use of
vertical mosaics there is in places unsuitable for
frescos, such as fountains, baths and garden
architecture

reference
Roman Renaissance gardens | GardenVisit.com, the garden landscape guide
http://www.gardenvisit.com/history_theory/library_online_ebooks/ml_got..
Patrick Bowe,. Gardens of the Roman World. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty
Museum. ISBN 0-89236-740-7
Wikipedia

Thank you!