The Royal Gardens of Venice, located adjacent to St. Mark’s Square, have reopened just ahead of Christmas, barely a month after a series of floods caused by bad weather and exceptionally high tides damaged businesses and homes.
Overlooking St. Mark’s Basin, just off the St. Mark’s vaporetto stop, the gardens, built during Napoleon’s occupation of Italy, fell into disrepair for several decades and are now once again connected to St. Mark’s square via a draw bridge that had long been disused.
The new gardens were designed by Paolo Pejrone to be sustainable, with plants, trees and bushes requiring little water. Shaded benches offer visitors and Venetians alike the chance to take a break surrounded by greenery in a very central location.
Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini expressed his satisfaction during the inauguration ceremony on December 17.
“The Royal Gardens are in the heart of Venice,” Franceschini said. “They were abandoned, but thanks to a perfect restoration and the work of volunteers and companies that donated important sums, this space has been given back to the city.”
Italian insurance company Generali donated 3 million euros ($3.5 million) to renovate the Royal Gardens. Under Italy’s Art Bonus program, an idea of Franceschini, the company will receive a tax write-off of 65% over the next three years.
Franceschini, who highlighted how the 65% tax break is the highest in Europe, said he hopes that private-public partnerships such as the one in place for the renovation of the Royal Gardens grow “in a strong, exponential way.”
“I would like to arrive at a point in which the social standing and image of a company is also measured by how much they have given back to the protection of the historic treasures of this nation,” Franceschini said.
The Royal Gardens of Venice will be open as follows:
Open from Tuesday to Sunday:
from April 15 to October 15, 8.30 a.m. - 7.30 p.m. (last entry at 7.15 p.m.)
from October 16 to April 14, 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. (last entry at 4.45 p.m.)
The Gardens are closed: Mondays, December 25 and 31, January 1, the last Saturday and last Sunday of Carnival, Easter Sunday, Saturday during the Feast of the Redeemer (3rd Saturday in July).
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