The Garden of Minerva

A lovely mediterranean town lying between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Lattari Mountains. Its historical old town is  Salerno’s beating heart inviting visitors to walk along tiny streets and small squares, to climb to its top overfacing the beautiful gulf. Long time ago spa and health resorts, its rivers and brooks would rush downhill winding themselves through gorgeous vegetation. In the Middle Ages Matteo Silvatico, a distinguished physician of the Medical School in Salerno, created a “garden of simples” in a wonderful site called Plaium Montis, half way between the Castle of Arechi and the Municipal Gardens downhill. Silvatico himself describes the garden in his main work Opus Pandectarum medicinae, “…and I have a taro, in Salerno, in my garden, near a well known spring.” About 20 years ago the local administration in Salerno decided to rearrange a garden of the simples (Hortus simplicium, forerunner of all botanical gardens) in the place owned by the Silvatico’s family. The project was accomplished in 2000. The garden, named after Minerva, the Goddess of thousands works (Ovid) brought to light a few traces of the medieval garden like the ancient irrigation system. Today the layout of the garden goes back to different settings carried out between the 17th and 18th century. Visiting its five terraced gardens you will see a variety of plants and herbs Matteo Silvatico had chosen for his didactical purposes at the Medical School of Salerno. Enjoy the wonderful view over the old town and the gulf of Salerno.

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