The Minerva Garden was the first botanical garden in Europe for cultivating plants for therapeutical use. Situated in the heart of the old town, close to the Fusandola stream and the ancient medieval walls, the garden appears as a terraced – walled orchard. The elements which date back to the 700′s are very enchanting: a fountain on a terrace and the long terraced stairway bordered by stuccoed pillars leading to a belvedere, the whole covered by a pergola. The canny way of distributing water by means of troughs and fountains on every terrace, the type of climate favoured by the exposure to the sun and lack of northerly winds has helped maintain the garden over the centuries. The ”viridarium” owned to the Silvatico’ family since XII century. In the first decades of the 1300 Matthew Silvatico, eminent doctor and author of ‘Opus pandectarum medicinae’ a rare collection of information on plants used for the production of drugs, established a Garden of simple (Ostensio simplicium), where the same Silvatico showed the plants with their names and their characteristics to the students of Salerno School of Medicine that was the first major medical institution in Europe during the Middle Ages (XI century), and as such it is regarded by many as the precursor of modern universities.

 

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