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Interviews

a date at the Garden Club

July 2020 - Number 20
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a date at the Garden Club

The culture of the garden as a site of art and beauty blooms anew in Versilia. In our interview, Maria Adriana Giusti explains how “public and private green spaces are precious tools for rebuilding our territory’s landscape mosaic.”

Interview by Titti Chiarello - Photography Nicola Gnesi

Don’t be fooled by her sophisticated looks and soft-spoken manner. Maria Adriana Giusti, Mag for her friends, is a warrior princess, energetic and passionate. She studied the classics in Pisa, took her degree in architecture in Florence, and then won a position at the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage for Pisa, Lucca, Livorno and Massa Carrara. By 1998, she was a full professor at Turin Polytechnic Institute’s Department of Architecture and Design, where she still teaches Architectural Restoration of Historic Parks and Gardens. She is the author of numerous publications, a teacher of Andalusian Cultural Heritage, and an honorary professor at China’s Xi’an University. But academia aside, what has most indelibly marked her life is her passion for recovering and valorizing architectural and landscape assets. Her Versilia home, Villa Coloreda in Vallecchia, has for about a year been the headquarters of her latest creation, Garden Club Versilia Apuania. “I am a woman of action, and a ‘caretaker’. The Garden Club is the synthesis of my entire path through life, grafted onto the experience of the Centro Studi Giardini Storici e Contemporanei founded in Pietrasanta by sculptor and landscape architect Alessandro Tagliolini.” What are the Club’s objectives? “Principally, to spread a capillary awareness of the landscape, by promoting private and public gardens – since gardens are vehicles of wellbeing, beauty, art, and health. A garden is an atelier for creating art with plants and Versilia – but in truth, our entire country – needs to regenerate its ‘green connective tissue’, to recreate our variegated landscape mosaic, which has suffered discontinuity since the postwar period.” Initiatives on tap? “One with Oscar Tintori, a leading expert in the field, to valorize the ancient citrus cultivations, first of all the ‘Florentine Citron’ lemon of Pietrasanta, of which we have mention here as early as the 17th century. We will be staging an exhibition in Sant’Agostino but only next year, given the current health emergency. The project will extend throughout Pietrasanta, with all the shops and businesses of all sorts offering lemon-based menus and drinks. And Paola Raffo will host a citrus soap-making experience.” 
And personally? “I am participating in a European study of silk in collaboration with a Chinese institution; I have just begun a book for a French publisher; and I am organizing the exhibition for the Viareggio bicentennial, scheduled to be inaugurated in late August at the city’s Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea. But before that, on 8 August, my Villa Coloreda, the Garden Club, and Luca Scarlini will be presenting the members-only show entitled Fiore Blu.” 

a great passion for recovering and valorizing architectural and landscape assets