"Fontana was wise enough to profit by the natural advantage of the great forest of oak and ilex which clothes this part of the country, and to realize that only the broadest and simplest lines would be in harmony with so noble a background."
Cetinale gardens are filled with climbing roses, lilies, irises, and vine-covered pergolas. In the spring months the wisteria covers the Villa walls and walkways in a sea of purple. Fields of poppies and wild flowers contrast with cypresses, olive trees and vineyards, and geometrically shaped flowerbeds lined with box hedges surround the citrus garden.
Cetinale, one of 70 gardens profiled by early 1900s author Edith Wharton was revisited by Vivian Russell for her book titled Edith Wharton's Italian Gardens published in 1997. Some of the gardens had been bombed in two wars, while others were spoiled by tourism or neglect. Cetinale, featured on the cover of Russell's book had been restored by Lord Lambton over the past 40 years.
Penelope Hobhouse, the internationally acclaimed garden designer, has called Cetinale 'the epitome of garden design', and has written that the flower garden is 'one of the most beautiful in Italy'.
Garden visits are Monday to Friday 9.30 – 12.30 by appointment only, and not when the Villa is let.