Enhance and promote the priceless Italian landscape and architectural heritage: this is the main purpose for which, at the beginning of the 2000s, the "The most beautiful park" award was born, from an idea by the architect Leandro Mastria of Treviso (president of the organizing secretary The most beautiful park in Italy). GardenTV interviewed him to find out how the competition works and what's new in recent years. Raffaele Cavalli, the referent for the management of one of the winners of the 2018 edition, tells how the green of the historic Villa Bolasco Park is managed.
How is the competition organized The most beautiful park in Italy?
The initiative includes the Parks and Gardens belonging to the network "The Most Beautiful Park in Italy" which today has more than 1,000 parks and gardens that can be visited, registered in the portal www.ilparcopiubello.it.
Each year a selected jury of experts in the field and academics chooses the ten finalists among the participants and then elects the two winners from among these.
Who are the winners of the 2018 edition and how were the finalist parks selected?
The winners of the 2018 edition are Villa Torrigiani in Camigliano (Capannori, Lucca) for the private parks category, and Villa Revedin Bolasco in Castelfranco Veneto (Treviso) as a public park. A baroque jewel, the first, recognized as a national monument, with its theatrical facade adorned with statues and crowned by a "vegetable garden" born as the Theater of Flora. A true "Paradise" instead the second, which was defined in the sixteenth century, and which today shines thanks to a significant intervention by the University of Padua.
Who is the jury composed of and which aspects do you take into consideration?
The jury consists of six experts in the field: Vincenzo Cazzato (president, University of Salento, for years coordinator of the ministerial committee for the study and conservation of historic gardens), Alberta Campitelli (former Director of the Office of Villas and Historical Parks of the Superintendency to the Cultural Heritage of the City of Rome), Marcello Fagiolo (former President of the National Committee for the Study and Conservation of Historic Gardens), Ines Romitti (landscape architect Aiapp-Ifla), Luigi Zangheri (former President of the International Scientific Committee for Landscapes) cultural Icomos-Ifla), Margherita Azzi Visentini (Polytechnic of Milan, Veneto Institute of Arts, Sciences and Arts).
For the purposes of awarding the prize, the jury takes into account the following aspects: the historical-artistic and botanical interest, the state of conservation, the aspects related to management and maintenance, accessibility, the presence of services, relations with the public and tourism promotion.
The event has conquered more and more following in recent years: how many participants are today?
To date, the network has about 1,000 subscriptions. Participation is free of charge and reports can come from the parks themselves, from the administrations but also from individual visitors. The scientific committee then evaluates the quality of the proposed place and approves its inclusion in the network.
Since 2013, two prizes have been established: one for parks and public gardens, one for private ones. Because?
The decision to establish a double prize was born on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the competition on the recommendation of the scientific committee. To be able to compare parks and gardens so different from each other was in fact a very complicated operation. Too many features that make it different management and therefore the peculiarities that can guide the choice.
Starting from the 2015 edition, a popular survey was also established between portal users and pages on social networks, which can elect their favorite among the 10 finalists. The survey, which has received great participation from the users, led to the election of the winner of the popular jury.
To the finalists, and to the greatest extent to the winners, the organizational secretariat gives great media coverage through traditional communication tools and new media, such as social networks and the web portal, with the aim of promoting awareness of these assets and increasing their visits tourism by a large public.
What is the link between the competition and the park network?
The competition aims to put in competition and reward the participants who throughout the year have distinguished themselves for their merits in the management and care of the heritage, according to the parameters set by the regulation.
The mission of the network is to create a national reference point for properties and the public, as well as to promote and enhance the culture and appreciation of our priceless heritage in Italy and abroad.
The network is therefore the precious "basin" from which the competition draws the excellence to be selected each year for the awarding of prizes. Once they are part of the network, the gardens have the right to participate in the competition for free. In addition to the winning gardens, all the others belonging to the network have the opportunity to make themselves known and promote their events in the park portal and in the various connected social networks.
Winning parks 2018 edition
Referent of the management of the historical park of Villa Bolasco is the prof. Raffaele Cavalli (Director of the Department of Territory and Agro-Forestry Systems and Deputy Director of Cirpam, the interdepartmental research center for the restoration, recovery and enhancement of historical parks and monumental trees).
Who cares for the park, how many gardeners do they take care of?
The care of the park is entrusted to the Cirpam; two gardeners present daily and two or three support gardeners a week a month, who are part of the experimental farm of the University of Padua.
What other professional figures (landscapers, agronomists, agrotechnics, garden designers ...) are involved?
The park makes use of the university skills in the Cirpam that cover a wide range of professionalism.
Which aspect of the park are you most proud of?
Of its history and of the evolution that characterized the compendium over the centuries.
Are you happy with this recognition and what importance does it have for you?
The recognition repays the commitment of the University of Padua in the restoration of the park and the efforts made in its management. The recognition is important because it increases the visibility of the park at the national level.
[cover photo: Otium Studium-Claudio Carraro; photo in the text Publisher Publied-Foto Lupi and Maurizio Sartoretto]