The history of the Turin Botanical Garden


Planimetria dell'Orto Botanico del 1732 (da Caramiello, 2012)
Planimetria dell'Orto Botanico del 1732 (da Caramiello, 2012)


The current structure of the Turin Botanical Garden is the result of almost 200 years of activity of many people, directors, researchers and gardeners, who have left a more or less visible imprint of their research on plants and the dissemination of botanical culture.

 The Botanical Garden was founded in 1729 at the behest of Vittorio Amedeo II, as a structure aimed at cultivating and making known plants and in particular their shape, their uses, their origin and their ecological characteristics and continues, since then, to carry out its business.

 Initially it had no built structures and occupied an area of about 6800 m²; in 1796 it was enlarged with an area of another 20,000 m², then separated from the older part, called the "Garden", by a two-storey building, the lower part of which housed an orange grove and the upper a Museum and a Herbarium.

 At the beginning of the 19th century, many tree species were planted in the oldest part, which transformed the central part of the garden into an "avenue". The complete use of the land dates back to 1831, the year in which cold greenhouses, orange groves and warm basement greenhouses were built for the cultivation of tropical species. In the same year, in the area behind the building, called "Boschetto", about a hundred tree species were planted, still largely living; with the intent to create a scenic effect, hills and avenues were modeled and the channels were dug. In 1892 the building was doubled, with the construction of a large hemicycle room and rooms for laboratories.

 Since 1997 the Botanical Garden has been open to the public and every year it is visited by around 10,000 visitors. Even with the long times that are typical of gardens, the Garden continues to be adapted to scientific knowledge and communication needs with the addition of new species, new collections and the proposal of new activities, maintaining its institutional aims of research on plants and dissemination of their knowledge. In recent years, research projects on the conservation of plant species have also been developed at the Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology of the University, which have also involved the Botanical Garden.


To know more:

Rosanna Caramiello, 2012. The Botanical Garden of the University of Turin from its foundation to the present day. Piedmontese Study Center, Turin. 159 pag. (italian language).


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