Guided tour




The panel in front of you and this audioguide will walk you through the garden. In the center of the panel is a detailed map of the garden. In the bottom left corner, you can find the legend with the most relevant spots to see and described in this audio guide.

The most distinctive element of this place is the Italian-style garden; a wonderful green area whose flowers and trees reveal a unique history. Evidence of its layout can be found in a cabreo—an inventory of the family possessions—dating back to the late 19th century. It includes a watercolor that illustrates a green area consisting of three sections: the garden arranged on several levels, the vegetable and flower garden encircled by walls—redolent of the medieval “hortus conclusus,” a small, enclosed green area—and finally, further downhill, a big almost triangle-shaped lawn, traditionally called “prà giardin,” with a majestic oak tree marking the outermost border of the estate.
You can start your visit from the natural walkway created by the topiary boxwood hedges (indicated by number 1 on the map), specifically pruned following the art of clipping trees and shrubs into ornamental shapes. This is the entrance to the formal garden, which consists of four symmetrical areas, as if they were natural “rooms.” Evidence of the garden’s initial form can be traced back to the beginning of the
1700s thanks to an ancient map of the Borgo di San Vito, where the Lajolo grounds were represented with the exact same plan as we see now. The two flowerbeds are surrounded by several varieties of roses, a flower we are particularly fond of here. In the spring, the corners of the flowerbeds are planted with bulbs. In the summer they are replaced with colorful annual flowers and leaves. In the center of the first square section on the left, there is a special rose: the Cardinal Martini Rose, a hybrid rose created by Rose Barni rose breeders, active in Pistoia since 1882. It was planted in 2022 to honor the tenth anniversary of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini’s death.

In the center of this geometric garden, point 2, you can find the rainwater cistern, still used for irrigation. From there, you can admire two of the most impressive trees in the garden: on the right is a Cedrus Deodara, a species of cedar native to the western Himalayas, and on the left, a Pinus Pinea, an Italian stone pine with its own very special story: It sprouted from a pine nut that was brought here from Villa Borghese in Rome and was planted in this garden when the Countess Augusta Lajolo, mother of the current owner, was born. More than a hundred years ago!

Now, if you head towards the high green wall on your left, you will find the next suggested stop for our tour: walk through the small central door in the large green hedge, number 3. This entrance takes you into the yew garden: a shaded and cool English garden that completely differs from the previous one. Its outer wall is created by the intertwining of branches.You are behind the so called “tassaia” with its seven yew trees, or Taxus Baccata. It’s a plant of the conifer order, also known as the “tree of death” because it is very poisonous. You can move on towards the flower bed in the front: the natural environment of this particular area of the garden, favors the growth of plants that thrive in the shade and moisture. Inside the flower bed, you can find a large Paeonia Arborea suffruticosa, a plant that blooms in the second half of April: a truly spectacular explosion of pink flower. Outside the flowerbed, on the left, arranged like a crown, are some Aspidistra elatior plants. Known as cast iron plant and usually grown as a houseplant, it finds here a perfect spot to grow and display its cluster of long dark green leaves. If you now head towards the small bare clearing, you will find some plants of Hydrangea arborescens “Annabelle”. This variety of the herbaceous perennial starts producing large round white blooms in the month of June.

Now, turn your attention to the first Yew Tree, located near the fence-wall and indicated by number 4: this is the monumental yew tree, our living history! Thanks to its imposing size (it’s 9 meters tall, it reaches 3 meters in circumference, and its crown spread is about 9 meters) and being over 200 years old, it has been listed in the Registrar of Monumental Trees of the Piedmont Region. However, we need to remind you that this is a poisonous plant for it contains taxine. The adjective “toxic” actually derives from its Latin name Taxus Baccata. Do not eat its leaves nor the tiny seeds inside its small red fruits. If you now proceed to the end of the yew garden where the glade begins and the light comes through again. Instead, if you turn your back to the formal garden, you will find the area indicated by number 5. It used to be the orchard, but about twenty years ago, it was turned into an olive grove. Here we can also find a rather interesting plant: the Cinnamomum camphora, a long-lived highly aromatic evergreen plant with aromatic leaves. Camphor oil, also used as moth repellent, is extracted from its trunk and branches.

The many olive plants currently produce nine varieties of table olives that are harvested each year in late October. This area is divided in half, by a pathway flanked by a collection of irises, featuring 19 different varieties that bloom in the month of May, adding beautiful hues to this part of the garden. At the end of the pathway you can find a pergola, a wooden gazebo, covered by a climbing vine of Strawberry Grape. If you go down a few steps, you will find yourself in front of a building that used to house the old stables, characterized by the typical striped walls.

You are now on the terrace, number 6, in the shade of another Pinus Pinea, Italian Stone Pine which presides over the Casa Lajolo vegetable garden. No matter the season, the home garden is always worth visiting! It has been partitioned in accordance with the geometry of the flower beds in the formal garden by the entrance, and harmoniously blends in with the other areas you have already explored. Vegetables and flowers grow in concert with a combination of flavors, scents and colors that provide a unique sensory experience. The vegetable garden is entirely enclosed by a wall. Behind it, is the lawn, with some flower plants among the beehives that we have placed here at Casa Lajolo to preserve biodiversity.

From here, if the weather allows and if you wish to do so, you can continue your visit by walking down to the vegetable-garden, which you can access through the gate located further down the slope on your left. Otherwise, you can scan the QR code on the illustrated panel designated for this area and listen as you observe from above what is described in the audio. At the end of your visit, and of this recording, you can continue the tour along the hydrangea allay, indicated by number 7 on the map. This pathway will take you back to the square in front of the villa. On your left, there are some buildings decorated with horizontal stripes. This was a typical feature of stables in the Pinerolo area. In fact, this is the building that housed the old stables, with vaulted ceilings supported by stone columns. Today it serves as a tool shed and part of it is utilized as a greenhouse for citrus plants.
Between the two world wars, the hey lofts on the first floor were converted into living spaces. Further down is the former woodshed that has been renovated to host events and conferences.

As we continue on our way back, along the path, on the right, we come across some table grape vines and also shrubs of Hydrangea macrophylla, which bloom from May to July. You are now back at the entrance square, number 8, next to an ancient well that is still in use. On your left, a tall yew tree “shaped” in the topiary style guards the building.
When the outside temperature allows, along the façade of the house, in addition to the ancient grapevines, there is a collection of potted citrus trees consisting of numerous varieties, such as oranges, lemons, bergamots, grapefruits, citrons, chinotto sour oranges, and more. On the right side of the square, there are four Trachycarpus fortunei palms: a quite popular exotic element in 19th-century gardens.
Turning towards the entrance gate, on your left you can admire an impressive Wisteria sinensis climbing all the way up to the terrace on the first floor of the house, and next to it, is a Laurus nobilis plant. On the right, a magnificent Magnolia grandiflora.
You have reached the end of the garden tour and we thank you for joining us. We hope you have enjoyed your visit and will have the chance to return, perhaps in a different season, to find out what new surprises the greenery at Casa Lajolo has in store for its visitors.

After all, there is always a good reason to enjoy the beauty and the positive effects of nature!

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