Discovering the Botanical Garden of Padua
My name is Francesca Scapolo and I live in Padua, Italy. After obtaining my high school diploma in classical studies, I decided to attend a degree in International Studies at University of Trento, Italy. Moving from my city to another one gave me the possibility to continue discovering new places and expanding my knowledge. Although my studies compel me to stay far from home, there is a place I really love in Padua that I visit every time I come back home: the Botanical Garden of Padua. I decided to visit it also on June, the 12th, on #makeheritagefun day.
The Botanical Garden of Padua was founded in 1545 by a decree of the Venetian Senate, and it is the world’s oldest university botanical garden of its kind. UNESCO added it to its list of World Heritage Site in 1997 because “It is the origin of all the botanical gardens in the world, a cradle of science and scientific exchange, serving as the basis for the understanding of the relationship between nature and culture. It largely contributed to the progress of a number of modern scientific fields, the likes of which include, of course, botanicals, as well as medicine, chemistry, ecology and pharmaceuticals.” The garden was founded by university students for researching reasons. Creating a botanical garden gave to the students the possibility to study and recognize medicinal plants, that are mostly known as “simple”. Its structure is very particular: the garden, in fact, is organized into geometric shapes in which there are different types of plants divided into categories.
In the garden is also possible to see century-old trees, such as “Goethe’s Palm” (1585): it is known also as “The Saint Peter’s Palm” (Chamaerops humilis), and it inspired the German poet Goethe to write his theory of nature in his book “Metamorphosis of Plants”. The Goethe’s Palm is not the only century-old tree, there are also the Himalayan Cedar (1828) that is the first ever specimen imported into Italy; the Southern Magnolia (1786) that is one of Europe’s oldest surviving specimens; Ginko Biloba (1750), an old male specimen.
In 2014 it was inaugurated the garden of biodiversity. It is a new greenhouse collocated inside the botanical garden. Its structure is very modern, and it was designed to reduce environment impact. In fact, it uses solar and water-power. The building contains 1300 different type of plants, divided into 5 biomes:
- ARID GREENHOUSE
- MEDITERRANEAN GREENHOUSE
- TEMPERATE GREENHOUSE
- SUB-HUMID TROPICAL GREENHOUSE
- TROPICAL GREENHOUSE
In the temperate and Mediterranean greenhouse it is possible to join some educational workshops, revealing some very interesting details about plants. For example: do you know how many types of potatoes are there in the world? An interactive dashboard shows you the different Andean potatoes and allows you to touch them (they are real!)
In this way the garden of biodiversity give you the possibility to discover the fauna of the five continents in just few hours (or more). So do not miss the chance to spend a day surrounded by nature, in an environment where diversity is the peculiarity, and where it is possible to find out new things about the world where we live.
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