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Carducci Gardens

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At this point, having wandered along Corso Vannucci with its museums, magnificent palaces and imposing churches, you’re tired and want a place to relax for a while –without missing out on the chance to admire yet another unique sight – the Carducci Gardens are just what you need! Go right to the end of Corso Vannucci where you’ll find the gardens situated immediately after the ‘palazzo della provincia’, where part of Rocca Paolina once stood. There’s a monument in the centre to Pietro Perugino and busts of Giosuè Carducci, Orazio Antinori, Galeazzo Alessi, Guglielmo Calderini and Pintoricchio.


“So in Perugia it befell. Where dim in

The shade of that stern pile the city lay,

Love laugheth now, and merrily the women

And children prattle in the sun of May.


And through the spacious azure ever higher

The bright sun mounts, till far Abruzzi’s snows

Glisten, and yet with more intense desire

Of love on Umbrian hill and pasture glows.


Where in the rosy light serenely rising

The mountains interweave their perfect lines,

Until each tender contour melts and dies in

The golden violet haze that o’er them shines.


Is ‘t, Italy, thy fragrant hair strewn over

They nuptial bed, ‘twixt seas to east and west,

Which ‘neath the kisses of th’ eternal lover

Trembles in scattered ringlets to thy breast?


What’er it be, I feel spring with me blending,

And all my thoughts a sapphire radiance stains;

I feel the sighs, ascending and descending

‘Twixt earth and heaven, throb through my veins…”

These verses were written by Giosué Carducci when, during his time in Perugia, he spent time in the gardens that are now named after him and where he was inspired to write this poem ‘Canto dell’Amore’ (The Song of Love), part of which is quoted above. In the verses, the poet traces the thirst for power and control that had led Pope Paul III to build Rocca Paolina and to suppress and crush every possible uprising in Perugia. As he explains in his poem, the “… people are a dog, which biteth the stones it cannot hurl… And specially on fortress delighteth to exercise its iron fangs” and so the Perugians have recovered their spaces, uprooting symbols of power to lovingly restore them to civic pride. Where the fortress once stood, now grass and flowers grow.

You can enjoy some relaxation in these gardens, surrounded by greenery but still in the oldest part of the city. Looking out over the balustrade, there is a wonderful view of the southern part of Perugia, with its tapestry of houses merging seamlessly, in the distance, with the greenery of the Umbrian valley. And if you pass by at sunset, you’ll see a unique sight, as the setting sun illuminates the greenery in the distance and gilds the city’s travertine limestone buildings with its dying rays.

Maybe you’ll feel inspired, like the poet, and overwhelmed by emotion.

The Carducci gardens are a very popular place, both for tourists and locals, but they’re never too crowded and always manage to offer visitors some welcome peace and quiet.

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