As you approach Lancaster Gate from inside Hyde Park London, you will come across the Italian Garden. It will stop you in your tracks because this garden is a real beauty, but also because it’s a completely differently laid out green space compared to what you’ve just strolled through. The juxtaposition of garden design styles is rather fascinating. At least to me.
Hyde Park was originally a hunting ground for Henry VIII and opened to the public in 1637. As many would know it’s a huge park, designed in a landscape style with huge swathes of lawn and a large number of trees/shrubs interspersed with roads and paths. It has a natural and informal feel to it.
The Italian Garden, however, is anything but informal. Au contraire, this is as formal as they come with strict geometric paths, carefully positioned flower beds and ornaments of the finest material and design. This garden is described as a water garden, which is perhaps fair as most of the area comprise four large water basins, each with a rosette fountain made from Carrara marble. I particularly like the Tazza fountain, as much for its design as for the way it leads the eye further afield over the water.
It was Prince Albert whom in the 1860s instigated this reflection of ‘Renaissance Italy’ as a romantic gesture to his beloved wife Queen Victoria. Around 150 years later it was time for a major restoration. It, for example, took specialist on-site stonemasons 1200 hours to restore the stone features. Something to consider as you walk around taking in the ambience of this finely ornate garden.