Hidden treasures

The Garden of Eden on the Giudecca Island in Venice

Unknown places & works
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The Garden of Eden on the Giudecca Island in Venice

Behind the male prison on the Giudecca Island, there is a secret hidden garden, concealed from sight and with an intriguing name: the Garden of Eden.

In 1880 the Englishman Frederic Eden bought what remained of the garden of the convent of the Cross and turned it into his own personal paradise.

He planted pine trees, cypresses, oleanders, lemon trees, magnolias, pomegranates, bergamot, vines, violets, tropical plants, verbenas, and especially roses, for which he had a real passion. Artists, writers and the local aristocracy frequented the garden. Henry James described it in his famous novel 'The Aspern Papers' and Gabriele D'Annunzio used it as the setting for the final chapter of his book 'Fire'.

After the death of Mr. Eden in 1916, in 1927 the garden and the villa were passed to Princess Aspasia of Greece who further enriched the garden with botanical Mediterranean species. In 1919, the princess married the crown prince of Greece Alexander, who died a year later from a monkey bite; their only daughter Alessandra in 1945 married Peter II, the last king of Serbia. Aspasia lived in the palace and garden of Eden until her death in 1972. Later the artist and Austrian architect Frederick Hunderwasser purchased the property. He took care of the garden in a very original way, arguing that 'we must not do gardening, but let nature take its course'.

Following his death the garden has passed to the Hundertwasser Foundation, which takes care of its maintenance and allows no one into this enchanted place…

Venice is full of places like this garden, hidden treasures known only by experienced local guides. The Garden of Eden is closed to the public but many other masterpieces are open to visitors, you just have to know where to find them! venetoinside.com offers you the chance to discover the hidden treasures of Venice thanks to Your Own Venice, a private tour and fully customizable allowing you to draw close to the less touristy side of the city in the company of our brilliant Venetian guides!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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