The History of the Botanical Garden

The present day structure of the Turin Botanical Garden is the result of almost 200 years of the activity of many people, that is, directors, researchers and gardeners, who have to different extents left a visible sign of their research activity on the plants and on the distribution of the botanical culture. The Botanical Garden was in fact founded in 1729, on the indications of King Vittorio Amadeo II, as a structure that had the aim of cultivating plants and imparting knowledge on them, and in particular on their appearance, their uses, their origins as well as their ecological and continuous characteristics, and, since then, of conducting its own activities.

At the beginning, the Botanical Garden had no buildings, and it covered an area of about 6800 m2, but then, in 1729, it was enlarged to an area of more than 15,000 m2 and the old part, known as the “garden” was separated by a two-floor building, the ground floor of which was used to house an orangery, while the upper floor was used as a Museum and a Herbarium. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, many different kinds of arboreal species were planted, and the central part of the garden was changed into an “avenue”.  The full use of the area that constitutes the entire Botanical Garden dates back to 1831, the year in which the cold greenhouses, organgeries and below-ground level hot houses were built for the cultivation of tropical species. In the same year, a hundred or so arboreal species were planted in the area to the north of the building, which is known as “the Grove”, most of which are still alive, while hillocks were created and canals were dug with the intention of creating a scenic effect. The building was doubled in 1892, with the construction of a large semicircular classroom and premises for laboratories.

The Botanical Garden was opened to the public in 1997, and each year it is visited by about 8000-10000 visitors of all ages. In spite of the long times that are necessary for a garden to take shape, the Botanical Garden continues to be tailored to scientific knowledge and communication requirements through the addition of new species, new collections and the proposal of new activities, while it continues to maintain its institutional purpose of research into plants and the divulgation of their knowledge. In the last few years, research projects on the conservation of plant species have been developed that have also involved the Botanical Garden.