Garden Network Celebrates 20 Years of Success

Italy’s Most Prestigious Garden Network Celebrates 20 Years of Success

British owned business ‘Grandi Giardini Italiani’ (GGI), a network of the finest open gardens in Italy including the beautiful grounds at the Vatican, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year (2017).

GGI works with both privately owned and state run gardens, which collectively attracted an impressive 8m visitors from Italy and overseas in 2016.

Giardini La Mortella PH Dmitri Tereschenko Grandi Giardini Italiani (CGI) Celebrates 20 years

Founded by Judith Wade in 1997 with just 12 gardens in its portfolio, GGI (which translates to Great Italian Gardens) has grown to encompass 124 garden sites across 12 regions in Italy, stretching from the far North to the sunny South.

Boasting over 500 years of horticultural history, the GGI network showcases the immense artistic and botanical heritage of Italian Gardens via events and initiatives including the popular botanical treasure hunt which takes place across 30 gardens every Easter.

Since its inception, GGI has started its own publishing company, launched its own film production company, created many additional regional networks and won 3rd place at the Chelsea Flower Show for a Neapolitan garden designed by Arch E Bortolotti.  It has produced a number of books including the GGI guide book (also available in English), ‘Ask Russell Page’ and ‘The Negombo Gardens’, which can be purchased at Waterstones stores.

GGI was founded on a passion to help garden owners increase footfall to their attractions and help them realise the potential they could be offering to visitors. At the time of its launch, cultural tourism concerning great Italian gardens was limited. However, by helping each garden to develop busy events calendars featuring treasure hunts, concerts and seasonal initiatives, GGI has contributed hugely to this cultural corner of this Italian tourism economy. 

Judith Wade, founder of GGI, said: “I like to think of Grandi Giardini Italiani as a factory of creativity spread over the whole of Italy, where thousands of people are committed to enhancing Italian gardens all year round to give added value to visitors. Over the past two decades I have dedicated all my time to the GGI initiative and am thrilled at the growth and success we have been able to achieve. Twenty years ago I could never have hoped for so much, so by looking at the network now, I can only ascertain that sometimes dreams really do come true!”

The GGI network features some of the finest gardens in the world, including three British owned locations, Villa Hanbury in Ventimiglia, La Mortella in Ischia and Villa Taranto in Lake Maggiore.

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