Alice and the dream of a garden
Alice Esclapon de Villeneuve was born in the city of Florence. At the age of four she moved into the house on the hills above Florence where she still lives today.
She loved spending plenty of time in what at the time was an olive orchard, which quickly became a privileged space and a shelter as well. Her passion for nature and agriculture, inherited from the family, pushed her to enroll in Florence’s Faculty of Agriculture program. After her father’s death, Alice started taking care of the family’s properties and inherited the piece of land that will be transformed into EdV Garden.
The passion for gardens bloomed towards the age of 30 when she took her father’s place in the Camelie Competition at the Florence Garden Club. In 1990 she married Claudio, and some time after that Serle, their daughter, was born. With her, the dream of the garden started to take shape as an ideal of beauty, wholesomeness and tranquillity. With the passing of time nature became “Mater et Magistra”, mother and teacher, for Alice— it guided her through not easy decisions that came on her path. During moments of sickness, it became a healing and comforting presence with its scents, colors, lights and shadows. This is how Alice developed a special sensitivity for biodiversity and environmental sustainability that will become a milestone in the garden with the help of Simone Grammatico, her trusted gardener that shares the same passions.
“I nurture the idea that
the emotion provoked by a garden
is gentle, faint
like a butterfly flapping its wings.”
A passion between fantasy and reality
EdV Garden used to be a tuscanian olive orchard about a third of a hectare large.
Today, it has been divided into four main levels, linked by different paths and gifted with a beautiful 180° view of Florence. 26 installations are located along the main path, each of them organized as a small independent garden. Every installation is like a chapter of a “diary” in which objects (often recycled), plants and flowers take the place of words and are able to convey emotions and stories.
Alice chose all the plants with meticulous attention and following specific criteria: structure, color, scent, blossom. Respecting their nature, she kindly asked the plants for their collaboration in order to better tell her stories. What was derived from this is neither a botanic garden nor a monumental garden, very often found in the Florentine traditions, but a creative opus that is the fruit of the author’s imagination and passions. Therefore, the visitor will be able to fly beyond the Piazzale Michelangelo and, leaving worries and hassles behind, walk into this precious green corner between fantasy and reality.