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You can see your first hint of myth in the impressive bronze wolf at the entranceway to the Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens. It is a testament to the ancient fable of Romulus and Remus. Above the entrance path spans equally characteristic, arched trellis work. Deliberately beautiful it is a suitable introduction to the elegance of the bubbling water features and square planted beds below. Walk through the pavilion for majestic views of the Waikato River.
Italian Renaissance Gardens evolved from many sources, in particular the Arab garden traditions although Islamic symbolism was given a Christian interpretation. The other major influence was a revival of interest in the cultures of antiquity, and the Renaissance designers constantly tried to emulate and surpass the ancient Greek and Roman achievements. This included accommodating antique sculptures or copies of antique figures like the copy from a mould of the original 5th century Capitoline wolf with Romulus and Remus in the Italian garden. The two babies, Romulus and Remus, were thrown into the Tiber River, which carried them to Platine where they were suckled by a she-wolf and then raised by a shepherd.
Renaissance gardens were also an evolution of the Medieval garden and many of the elements from that earlier era were retained such as the high surrounding walls, flat square beds with edges lined with plants, beds of simples, flowery meads, and the arched trellis work. The major difference in the Renaissance gardens was the introduction of a strong central axis and the discovery of linear perspective as a link between the main buildings and the different portions of the garden. Gardens became separated into compartments that could be named, enclosed, and hidden to create an unfolding sequence of spaces. The axis organised and unified the whole composition.
Come visit and explore the myth and tradition of the Italian Renaissance Garden.
Hamilton Gardens is a conceptual garden based in the Waikato that explores the context, history and meaning of gardens through time, and from around the world. It is internationally recognised for its unique concept and is the Waikato region’s most popular tourist destination.
Only five minutes drive from Hamilton’s CBD, the Gardens is open 7 days a week during daylight hours and entry and parking is free. Access is off SH1, alongside Cobham Drive on the southern side of Hamilton. Mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs are available to hire and guided tours are available.
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