Historic Garden of San Francesco

Between avenues and majestictrees, a dive into the depths of the heart

By Comune di Ripacandida

Church of San Donato, external view Church of San Donato, external viewComune di Ripacandida

In Ripacandida, in the Land of Lucania, there is a small and very famous garden in the area, a place full of botanical surprises but also of suggestive atmospheres.

Church of San Donato, external viewComune di Ripacandida

A garden of conventual origin whose history is linked to that of the adjacent seventeenth-century Franciscan monastery

Historic Garden "San Francesco" (1857) by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

In an intimate relationship with the cycle of fifteenth-century frescoes, of the adjacent medieval church of San Donato. As you enter, you find yourself in the presence of one of the centuries-old pines that shades one of the three stone pavilions

Historic Garden "San Francesco" Historic Garden "San Francesco" (1920) by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

Transformed over time from an ancient vegetable garden into a silent place of meditation with ornamental plants and stone artefacts

Historic Garden "San Francesco" Historic Garden "San Francesco" (2004) by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

The artistic fountain, built in the early 1900s, was renovated and embellished in 2010

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

Statue of San Francesco, from which the name of the Garden.

Historic Garden "San Francesco" (1857) by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

The double avenue of holm oaks and ash trees, of horse chestnuts and magnolias relaxes the look in a relaxing perspective ...

Historic Garden "San Francesco" (1857) by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

... that from the belvedere it extends over the gentle and undulating landscape of this earth kissed by the wind and the sun

Historic Garden "San Francesco" (1857) by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

Walking along the outer avenue ...

Historic Garden "San Francesco" (1857) by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

... between fountains and box hedges, you arrive in front of a majestic Pine of Aleppo ...

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

... the oldest witness of the place. Perhaps the largest specimen of this species in Europe

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

There he is! In all its majesty!
Its circumference measures over 5 meters ...

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

In height, it exceeds 35 meters.
A seed, or a small plant brought from afar by a friar, a grateful pilgrim, someone who centuries ago wanted to leave a memory, a symbol, a message of eternity. Struck by lightning and storms over the centuries, with the aim of prolonging its life and stability, in 2019 it has been the subject of a safety intervention, unique in the whole region

Historic Garden "San Francesco" (2005-2006) by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

From the Garden, the view can run far over the rolling hills of the Lucanian Apennines.

Historic Garden "San Francesco"Comune di Ripacandida

Behind the church of San Donato, on a slightly raised floor you can admire the ancient garden, which is accessed by two short staircases accompanied by small classical statues that in the last century adorned an ancient noble villa of Ripacandida

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

Trees dominate an environment that evokes religiosity, which encourages silence, reflection, meditation ...

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

... not failing to give new perspectives ...

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

... and corners to take refuge in the shade, caressed by the sparkling air that characterizes the area

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

The wood hedges draw a sort of labyrinth, in which, however, it is impossible to get lost

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

The edge game is not designed to imprison the visitor, but to lead him and help him to walk serenely with curiosity and fun the whole green composition

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

Going down a few steps, a gentleman dressed as a wanderer "plays" the flute. Sitting on the benches in front of him, the mind wanders free accompanied by those notes that, climbing upwards, bouncing between the walls of the convent and the hills facing each other, they get inside you

Historic Garden "San Francesco" (1857) by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

The longitudinality of the innermost avenue wisely combines with the verticality of the trees ...

Historic Garden "San Francesco" by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

... whose crowns shaped over time by passionate gardeners create shadows and light-dark. Going through it to the end…..

Church of San Donato, external viewComune di Ripacandida

... you are returned to the gate and then to the entrance. The mind is restored, and in the background the soul and eyes can find further refreshment and refuge in the splendid Sanctuary of San Donato, where you can immerse yourself in the fifteenth-century representations of the old and new Testament

Murals - Franciscan Sisters of the Child Jesus (1994) by Municipality of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

The Sanctuary of San Donato was born in 1600 with the Franciscan friars. Since 1889 it has been run by the Franciscan nuns of the Child Jesus. In the representation, placed on the external wall of the convent, there is the figure of the founding Mother with the cross, the coat of arms and the motto” Caritas-Claritas” and the representations of the first fraternities of the institute: Guardiagrele (CH), S. Maria degli Angeli (Assisi), Trevi (PG), Ripacandida

Credits: Story

Credit: Arch. Giuseppe Sarcuno

Credits: All media
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