“Citri et Aurea”: Polish-Italian garden seminar about Citrus collection

From the 1st to 3rd September 2020, a Polish-Italian seminar will be held at the Wilanów Palace in Warsaw, Poland, featuring experts on historical residencies in Poland and Italy, during which they will present the achievements of both countries on conservation of historic gardens and citrus collections. The “Citri et Aurea” project, which has been successfully implemented since 2019, has been unfolding remarkably well, like the cooperation between the Uffizi Gallery and the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace in Wilanów.

The strengthening of diplomatic contacts between the courts of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III Medici and King Jan III after the victorious battle of Vienna resulted in sending eight crates of plants to Wilanów in 1684. Among the plant varieties mentioned by the historical sources was citrus lumia, dubbed “Adam’s apple” (‘Pomum Adami’), gifted at the time as a token of friendship. The sensitive goods were sent on a long 1600-kilometer road from Florence to Warsaw. The extraordinary history of plants from almost 340 years ago became a starting point for the cooperation concerning the historical citrus collections between the Boboli Gardens, managed by the Uffizi Gallery and the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace in Wilanów. The Boboli Gardens can boast a remarkable citrus collection, which is believed to be one of the most important in Europe, encompassing more than 500 pots with citrus trees, including around 90 various varieties, including 20 historical varieties from the Medici era. To this day, the plants are grown in line with traditional Tuscan cultivation methods and gardening ways. The team of the Boboli Gardens will support the Wilanów Museum staff with their expert knowledge, aiding the Polish museum with an extremely difficult undertaking – reconstruction of the collection of historical citrus varieties. The process of its reconstruction began in 2016, when 38 specimens of orange trees in characteristic oak pots painted in white and green stripes appeared in the Baroque garden, The Wilanów collection currently comprises more than 100 citrus trees, encompassing 7 varieties, and is a rare collection of orangery trees in Poland. During the first stage of the “Citri et Aurea” project, which was carried out in 2019, three employees of the Wilanów Museum came to Florence for a study visit to learn about traditional cultivation methods and Tuscan gardening. The visit was an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience in the field of conservation of historic gardens and citrus tree collections. This is a unique example of cooperation between Poland and Italy in the field of garden art, co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland within the framework of the “Inspiring Culture” Programme, The Uffizi Gallery in Florence as a strategic partner, supported by the Polish Cultural Institute in Rome, Polish Academy of Sciences Scientific Center in Rome, Italian Cultural Institute in Warsaw, European Route of Historic Gardens and Polish Tourism Organisation.

Lecture program:
Jacek Kuśmierski, Museum of King Jan III’s Palace in Wilanów
History and future of the Wilanów citrus collection.
Łukasz Przybylak, Museum of King Jan III’s Palace in Wilanów
Wilanów Orangery Garden – history and perspectives.
Bianca Maria Landi, Paola Ruggieri, Boboli Gardens, Florence
Roots and the future. Conservation, protection and enhancement of the Boboli Gardens.
Gianni Simonti, Boboli Gardens, Florence
The historical citrus collection of the Boboli Gardens through its 470 years of history. Varieties, architecture, materials and cultivation methods through the centuries.
Monika Kordiukiewicz, City of Białystok
The Branicki Palace Garden in Białystok – 10 years after the restoration.
Agnieszka Chmielewska, Museum in Nieborów and Arkadia
How much truth is in the legend – facts and myths about the Nieborów citrus collection.
Beata Kańska, Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw
Orangeries of the Royal Łazienki Park – facts and legends about the citrus collections.

The presentations will be recorded and made available on the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace in Wilanów YouTube channel.



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