Botanical garden of Ferrara


We have news of the activity of the University of Ferrara since 1392; in this university the Estensi promoted the development, among other disciplines, of medical studies and botany; in this distant period, therefore, a large garden of the simple was to be found in Ferrara, of which not many traces remain. Historical documents attest to the institution of the university's botanical garden only in 1771, in 1772 the garden catalog was published, which counted 2800 indigenous and exotic taxa.
After various vicissitudes, only in 1963 the botanical garden was moved to the place where it is still possible to admire today, in the sixteenth century Palazzo Turchi-Di Bagno.
The Botanical Garden of Ferrara is today an integral part of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources of the University of Studies. The Garden is rectangular in shape and its surface is divided into irregularly shaped flower beds. A long path, winding between flowerbeds surrounded by low evergreen hedges and tree-lined meadows, allows visitors to travel the whole area far and wide. The outdoor flowerbeds cover a total area of ​​approximately 4500 square meters and host about 700 species divided into three sections (Systematics, Useful Plants, Theme Gardens) and numerous thematic sectors. To allow visitors to easily recognize the section to which they belong, each sector is identified by a special plate of a different color (blue, red and green, respectively). Greenhouses are located on the eastern side of the Botanical Garden, near the entrance. The greenhouses (for a total of 243 square meters) are divided into a large, unheated central room and two side rooms, having the functions of a tempered greenhouse and a hot greenhouse. Plants in greenhouses (about 1300 tropical and subtropical species) include collections of great scientific interest. During the good season, many of the plants that are sheltered in the greenhouse in winter are moved outdoors and placed in specially prepared structures, so as to constitute a fourth section (Exotic Plants) with yellow plates. Below is a brief description of the sections and the main sectors of the Botanical Garden. Recently a booklet has been created that illustrates all the sectors and the main collections entitled: The collections of the Botanical Garden.

Subdivision of the garden

The plants in this section are ordered according to a systematic criterion, in accordance with the modern classification of Cronquist and Takhtajan. The section includes four sectors: Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons and Monocotyledons. The last two sectors are in turn subdivided into ten sub-sectors, each of which corresponds to a sub-class of the Cronquist and Takhtajan classification: Magnoliidae, Hamamelidae, Dilleniidae, Caryophyllidae, Rosidae and Asteridae for Dicotyledons; Alismatidae, Arecidae, Commelinidae and Liliidae for Monocotyledons. The section is completed by two particularly interesting families of Monocotyledons placed in flowerbeds specially prepared for them: banana flowerbed (Musa sapientum and other musacee) and palm flowerbed (Chamaerops humilis and other arecaceae).
Useful plants
In this section the plants are subdivided according to the criterion of utility for man. The section includes three sectors: plants of various anthropic use, aromatic plants and medicinal plants. The last sector is in turn divided into eight sub-sectors: plants used in disorders of the nervous system (anxiety, insomnia, headache, etc.); plants used in metabolic disorders (diabetes, gout, etc.); plants used in disorders of the digestive system (stomach, liver, intestine); plants used in disorders of the cardiovascular system (heart, blood, muscles); plants used in disorders of the skin, eyes and against hair loss; plants used in disorders caused by parasites (mites, insects, worms, etc.); plants used in disorders of the urinary tract (kidneys, bladder, etc.); plants used in disorders of the respiratory system (throat, bronchi, lungs).
Theme gardens
This section includes predominantly ornamental plants organized in 13 small thematic gardens, mainly for aesthetic-popular purposes. The gardens are: rock garden (small rock with orophytes and ground cover plants); garden orchard (flowerbed with fruit trees and shrubs); plants in the shade (small flowerbed with plants sciafile and climbing); Mediterranean garden (small informal garden with heliophilous plants); western arboretum (Eurasian and American trees and shrubs); eastern arboretum (trees and shrubs of central-eastern Asia); officinal arboretum (anthropic or poisonous trees and shrubs); romantic garden (nineteenth-century English garden); garden of the seasons (20th century English garden); aquatic plants (tanks with helophytes and hydrophytes); peat bog (tank with aquatic ferns and other hygro-acidophilic plants); Italian garden (geometric flowerbeds with summer-blooming heliophilous plants); garden of tea (small Japanese garden of the sixteenth century).
Exotic plants
The plants in this section are all in pots or in a basket and in winter they are kept in a greenhouse. The numerous sectors are formed, in practice, by collections of plants of tropical or subtropical origin. The main collections are: succulent plants (American, African and Madagascar); epiphytic plants (ferns, orchids, bromeliads and epiphytic cacti); carnivorous plants; exotic medicinal plants (edible, medicinal, industrial, hallucinogenic, poisonous, etc.); exotic ornamental plants (divided by continent of origin); "stone" plants and other unusual succulents; Far East plants.

Botanical garden of Ferrara: How the botanical garden works

Whoever visits a botanical garden does not, generally, only to spend some moments of leisure or to satisfy the sight and smell with brightly colored flowers or sweet perfume. Whoever enters a botanical garden, usually looks for something more than what they can find in a garden or in a public park. The spur that drives people to visit a botanical garden is the "curiosity", that is the desire to learn new things and to know all that nature, through the vegetable kingdom, is able to offer to man. The world of plants has a lot to offer - shapes, colors, flavors, smells, sounds, oxygen, food, drinks, medicines, building materials, ornamental essences, leisure, imagination, poetry - and one of the main tasks of a botanical garden is precisely that of helping people to know and appreciate the thousands of opportunities offered by plants. To try to satisfy (at least in part) the "curiosity" of its visitors, the Botanical Garden of Ferrara regularly conducts guided visits for schools and groups and periodically organizes thematic exhibitions and educational seminars.
Guided tours, lasting about an hour, are carried out free of charge by the staff of the Botanical Gardens, by reservation, on Mondays, between 9.00 am and 1.00 pm. To book: tel. 0532 293782.
More in-depth guided tours and targeted educational tours, with the possible use of multimedia auletta, are carried out (for a fee) every weekday by the DIDO cultural association '. To book: tel. 0532 203381.
One of the functions of a Botanical Garden, sometimes unjustly considered secondary to the problems of university research and teaching, is ostensive. The common visitors do not enter, generally, in a Botanical Garden to inform themselves on the progress of the researches that take place in it or to observe with the magnifying glass the anatomical structure of the leaves. The vast majority of visitors come to the Botanical Garden to learn about the names of plants that grow in the neighboring territories or to closely observe plants seen in a television documentary or in the pages of a book or to find out if certain plants actually possess the properties or practical uses they have heard of. The Botanical Garden of Ferrara has tried to respond, at least in part, to the legitimate curiosity of its many visitors by creating a booklet that illustrates the disposition, the didactic purpose and the organizational criteria of its collections. From November to March it is possible to observe outdoors only the collections of rustic plants grown in full air for twelve months a year, while the delicate plants remain protected inside the greenhouses. From April to October, many of the plants conserved in greenhouses are taken outside and placed in special spaces or on fixed or mobile structures organized to house the exotic plant collections. The booklet does not list or describe the more than two thousand species cultivated in the Botanical Garden, but only the collections in which they, with sometimes subjective criteria, have been included. The photographs of the plants and the drawings reproduced in the brochure are by the author.
Some logistical information
The Botanical Garden of Ferrara is managed by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources of the University; is in Corso Porta Mare 2.
tel. 0532293782
fax. 0532208561
Entry time:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 9.00 - 13.00
Tuesday and Thursday: 9.00 am - 5.00 pm
Saturday, Sunday and holidays: closed
(pre-holiday and holiday opening perhaps starting from May 2005)
Free admission
For more information
The texts and photographs in this article have been kindly provided by Dr. Fabrizio Negrini, Curator of the Botanical Garden of the University of Ferrara.

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