“Citri et Aurea” Polish-Italian garden seminar under the patronage of the European Route of Historic Gardens

“Citri et Aurea” Polish-Italian garden seminar under the patronage of the European Route of Historic Gardens

The “Citri et Aurea” project, which has been successfully implemented since 2019, has been unfolding remarkably well, like the cooperation between the Uffizi Gallery and the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace in Wilanów. In September 2020, a specialist seminar will be held in Warsaw, featuring workers on historical residencies in Poland and Italy, during which they will present the achievements of both countries on conservation of historic gardens and citrus collections. The event is held under the patronage of the European Route of Historical Gardens.

The strengthening of diplomatic contacts between the courts of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III Medici and King Jan III after the victorious battle of Vienna resulted in sending eight crates of plants to Wilanów in 1684. Among the plant varieties mentioned by the historical sources was citrus lumia, dubbed “Adam’s apple” (‘Pomum Adami’), gifted at the time as a token of friendship. The sensitive goods were sent on a long 1600-kilometre road from Florence to Warsaw. The extraordinary history of plants from almost 340 years ago became a starting point for the cooperation concerning the historical citrus collections between the Boboli Gardens, managed by the Uffizi Gallery and the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace in Wilanów. This was made possible thanks to the membership of both gardens in the European Route of Historic Gardens.

Historic gardens and citrus collections

The Boboli Gardens can boast a remarkable citrus collection, which is believed to be one of the most important in Europe, encompassing more than 500 pots with citrus trees, including around 90 various varieties, including 20 historical varieties from the Medici era. To this day, the plants are grown in line with traditional Tuscan cultivation methods and gardening ways.

The team of the Boboli Gardens will support the Wilanów Museum staff with their expert knowledge, aiding the Polish museum with an extremely difficult undertaking – reconstruction of the collection of historical citrus varieties. The process of its reconstruction began in 2016, when 38 specimens of orange trees in characteristic oak pots painted in white and green stripes appeared in the Baroque garden, The Wilanów collection currently comprises more than 100 citrus trees, encompassing 7 varieties, and is a rare collection of orangery trees in Poland.

During the Polish-Italian garden seminar online, which was slated for 1-3 September, the achievements of the institutions of both countries in the field of conservation of historic gardens and citrus collections, will be presented. This is a unique example of cooperation between Poland and Italy in the field of garden art, under the patronage of the European Route of Historic Gardens.

Lecture programme

  • Jacek Kuśmierski, Museum of King Jan III’s Palace in Wilanów: History and future of the Wilanów citrus collection
  • Łukasz Przybylak, Museum of King Jan III’s Palace in Wilanów: Wilanów Orangery Garden – history and perspectives
  • Bianca Maria Landi, Paola Ruggieri – Boboli Gardens, Florence: Roots and the future. Conservation, protection and enhancement of the Boboli Gardens
  • Gianni Simonti – Boboli Gardens, Florence: The historical citrus collection of the Boboli Gardens through its 470 years of history. Varieties, architecture, materials and cultivation methods through the centuries
  • Monika Kordiukiewicz, City of Białystok: The Branicki Palace Garden in Białystok – 10 years after the restoration
  • Agnieszka Chmielewska, Museum in Nieborów and Arkadia: How much truth is in the legend – facts and myths about the Nieborów citrus collection
  • Beata Kańska, Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw: Orangeries of the Royal Łazienki Park – facts and legends about the citrus collections

The presentations will be recorded and made available on the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace in Wilanów YouTube channel. For the most up-to-date information, refer to the official website of the Museum: wilanow-palac.pl

Project co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland within the framework of the “Inspiring Culture” Programme. The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is a strategic partner. The event is held under the patronage of the European Route of Historical Gardens. The initiative is supported by: Polish Cultural Institute in Rome, Polish Academy of Sciences Scientific Center in Rome, Italian Cultural Institute in Warsaw and Polish Tourism Organisation. The seminar is held under media patronage of the Gazzetta Italia magazine.