The Gardens of the Vatican

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Twenty-seven years in the making, The Gardens of the Vatican is a private photographic tour of eight centuries of 'green thoughts in a green shade'. The several gardens in the Vatican territory reflect the history of gardens in general. In addition to the Persian-influenced quadrant gardens of the Teuton Cemetery and the Secret garden, adorned with lemon-trees in pots, there are gardens in the Italian, French and English styles. The book is rich in anecdote and detail: Pope John XXIII liked to ramble along the pathways and chat with the gardeners. His predecessor Pius XII wanted solitude, so the gardeners were obliged to hide. There is a fragment of the Berlin Wall, a Chinese pavilion given by the Catholics of that country, and a gnarled old olive tree transplanted from Gethsemane in the Holy Land. The Gardens of the Vatican offers a fascinating and inspiring glimpse of a bachelor's refuge, through eight centuries of history.