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Gardens in and around Rome during the High Renaissance and early Baroque

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

From the Renaissance onwards, wealthy and influential people of Rome commissioned gardens to be built. This course will look at key examples to evaluate the social, artistic and literary importance of these "most beautiful pleasure gardens".

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment


Special Information

Recommended reading books can be purchased new or second hand from online and in store in book shops. Students are not required to purchase the books in order to take this course. 

Content of Course

This course considers the development and context of gardens in and around Rome between the 15th and 18th centuries. The Renaissance popes commissioned magnificent terraces and gardens in the Vatican, while cardinals and other wealthy individuals escaped from the Roman heat to secluded vigne on the city's hills. Their villas outside the city also acquired elaborate gardens. Using a range of visual and written primary sources, and led by informal lecture, students will assess the development of these gardens placing them in their cultural, political and social context.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:  

  1. Assess the developments in gardens in Rome from the 15th to the 18th centuries. 

  1. Identify and account for particular trends in garden development in this period. 

  1. Place garden design and culture in the broader political, artistic and social context of Rome in the period. 

  1. Make general comparisons with garden development in other areas of Italy and Europe. 


Core Readings


  • Atlee, H. (2006) Italian Gardens: A Cultural History, Frances Lincoln. 

  • Masson, Georgina (1961) Italian Gardens. London: Thames and Hudson (repr. 2010, Garden Art Press). 

Web Sources

  • Monty Don’s Italian Garden TV series is relevant to parts of the course. It can still be found either in DVD or on streaming channels.  


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.