The Neo-Classical Garden: Villa Silvio Pellico

Surveying Russell Page's Italian masterpiece in a new episode of Great Gardens

 

“I am the most famous garden designer you’ve never heard of,” the enigmatic Russell Page (1906-1985) once said – which beggars belief given that his client list read like a society registry, including such luminaries as Marella Agnelli, the Duke of Windsor and Oscar de la Renta. Notable achievements include the Battersea Park Festival Gardens for the 1951 Festival of Britain, Sir William and Lady Walton’s La Mortella on the volcanic island of Ischia, and the Frick Collection garden in New York City. Perhaps the best example of Page’s style, however, is Villa Silvio Pellico, an 18th-century estate set on a Moncalieri hillside on the outskirts of Turin, pictured in a new episode of our Great Gardens series directed by Howard Sooley. 

“This garden floats out like clouds into the surrounding plain”

“Normally a garden is imposing, it is trying to impress like theater, whereas Silvio Pellico reaches out to hold your hand,” says Sooley of the garden commissioned in the early 1950s by Signora Ajmone Marsan. “It subtly invites you in to explore and experience. I found the measurements especially enchanting. The height of the hedges, the drop of the stairs, the shifts in perspective...everything is just right. This very clever garden floats out like clouds into the surrounding plains, a ship set sail for the mountains in the distance.”–Lee C. Wallick

 

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