BOXWOOD TOUR OF ITALY - Rome and the Gardens of Tuscany

Don't miss out, we have 4 Spots Available!
New dates: September 30-October10, 2021.
(Plus an optional extension to the Italian Lake District)


Join the American Boxwood Society on a trip a of a life time to Italy arranged by Garden Travelers.
Download the form below and email us at if you are interested in traveling with us.

Download our Booking Form


Read an article about the event from our Bulletin



As you can probably guess although Italy is opening up, some things may change. We may need to change the order that we visit sites, and will update participants on this as the trip get closer. Hope you are all now vaccinated and ready to travel. There may be times where we separate into 2 groups of ten which is fine with us.

Thursday, September 30
Arrive in Rome (airport code FCO) and travel to the Albergo Santa Chiara Via Santa Chiara Rome. (This means you will fly from the United Statas on September 29 as it is an overnight flight.) When you advise me of your arrival time, perhaps we can help arrange some groups traveling together. If you arrive at the hotel before check in time, they will hold your luggage for you. The location is excellent with many places to get a bite to eat before check in, Ron and I plan on traveling a day early and will be in the lobby much of the day. Our only official event for the day in dinner. We plan to meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30 to walk to the restaurant. We have added this night and dinner to that we will be able to start early on Friday morning, and to celebrate the fact that we are actually in Rome. Hotel: Albergo Santa Chiara Included: Dinner.

Friday, October 1
Today we will leave Rome for a full day of touring. Our first stop will be Cerveteri which is a town northwest of Rome, Italy. It’s known for its well-preserved necropolis complex, once part of an Etruscan city. The Banditaccia Necropolis is a series of pre-Roman tombs, some with fragments of wall paintings. This is one of the most interesting Etruscan sites that we have visited. We will depart for Giardini della Landriana where we will have lunch and a group visit of the garden. Landriana was a barren property in 1956 when it was purchased by Marquis Gallarati Scotti and his wife Lavinia Taverna. In fact, there were still mines and unexploded bombs from the fighting at Anzio during WWII. Lavinia quickly developed a love of growing plants but realized in the mid-sixties that she had a collection of plants and not a garden. A friend suggested she call Russell Page, the famous English garden designer, and the property was developed into an arts and craft garden with great structure and many rooms. Our last stop for the day will be the beautiful Gardens of Ninfa (Giardini di Ninfa) located in the Lazio region of Italy, about 40 miles south-east of Rome. Known mostly to garden enthusiasts, Ninfa and its unique setting are still a fairly well-kept secret. Ninfa was a substantial town going back to the times of the Romans. However, during the Middle Ages the town was squabbled over, sacked, beset by malaria and eventually Ninfa was abandoned to the elements. A neglected part of the estate of the aristocratic Caetani family, Ninfa was left to slumber until the twentieth century when descendants transformed the town's ruins into a botanical garden. The last owner, Lelia Caetani, left the garden to a foundation who now run the site. This is a full day, but we will have time to rest between sites on the motor coach.
We will return to the Albergo Santa Chiara for the evening. There are many restaurants in the vicinity of the hotel, so you will not need to travel far for dinner. Hotel: Albergo Santa Chiara Included: Breakfast and lunch.

Saturday, October 2
We will spend the day in Rome and mostly at your own pace. We are monitoring the situation with sites in Rome very closely and may offer a guided trip to those interested. We do have a private visit arranged to the Palazzo Colonna-Galleria Colonna arranged for 5:30 this evening. This is indeed a very special visit to an amazing place. Hotel: Albergo Santa Chiara Included: Breakfast.

Sunday, October 3
Today we say farewell to the Eternal City with our first stop of the day at Villa d’Este. Villa d’Este is included in the UNESCO world heritage list and is a masterpiece of the Italian garden with impressive fountains, nymphs, grottoes, and boxwood. Lots of Boxwood! I am leaving the afternoon open just in case the hours of a site we are visiting change. There are several options available and we will choose one at a future date.
We will continue to near the town of Viterbo where we will spend the night.
Hotel: Terme Salus Included: Breakfast, dinner at hotel.

Monday, October 4
Today we will once again see three wonderful and different gardens. The first will be The Park of Monsters. The park of Monsters of Bomarzo was devised by the architect Pirro Ligorio (he completed the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Rome after the death of Michelangelo and built Villa d'Este in Tivoli) on commission of Prince Pier Francesco Orsini (1523-1585), to recover from the heartbreak of losing his wife Giulia Farnese. This place is indeed a wonder, and off the beaten path. Another place off the beaten path is Castello Ruspoli where we will enjoy a visit to the garden, tour of the castle, and lunch. The garden, considered one of the most important in Italy, was created in 1611. Marcantonio Marescotti (3rd Earl of Vignanello and Parrano) was married to Ottavia Orsini, daughter of Vicino Orsini, creator of the sacred garden of Bomarzo. She planned and supervised the creation of the Renaissance garden parterre of Castello Ruspoli. Thanks to the restoration and preservation promoted by the family, it is known in Europe as one of the most well-preserved gardens of that time. The last garden we see today is Lante. In the eyes of many, this is the consummate example of the best period in the history of garden design: the Mannerist phase of the Italian renaissance. It was designed for Cardinal Gambara, who had a modern taste for outdoor living and eating al fresco. The buildings are treated as garden ornaments, illustrating a good principle, and the overall design is attributed to Vignola. It uses the Palladian circle and square. Every aspect of the garden is perfectly proportioned and richly detailed. After these visits we will continue to San Gimignano. San Gimignano is a tourist trap town, but oh what a tourist trap it is! And after the day visitors leave it is indeed a magical place. Hotel: Leon Bianco Included: breakfast and lunch.

Tuesday, October 5
We will not have such an early start today, but we will leave in the morning for the trip to Villa di Geggiano where we will be treated to a very special visit including a tour of the villa and lunch. The villa remains almost untouched since the 17th century when it was renovated for a special wedding. The family produces organic Chianti and olive oil. This visit will not be a disappointment. We have been visiting since the late 90’s. After our visit we will travel to Montereggioni before heading back to San Gimiginano where you will have time to explore and shop on your own. This is a hill town, and it would be very difficult to get lost. I might add that one of my very favorite gelato shops is located in San Gimiginano. It is delicious and worth a stop or two. Hotel: Hotel Leon Bianco Included: Breakfast and lunch.

Wednesday, October 6
We are off to a wonderful experience at Badia Coltibuono today complete with wine, lunch, and a great garden. We will return to San Gimginano by way of Siena where you will have free time. Spend it seeing sights, sipping a drink on the Campo, or for the brave climbing the tower. Actually, there are 2 towers to climb. The famous one on the campo or the bell tower by the Cathedral. I suggest the latter. Siena is a good shopping stop. Hotel: Hotel Leon Bianca Included: Breakfast and lunch.

Thursday, October 7
Today we depart for Florence, but have another great stop on the way. We will visit Le Corti for a visit to the old wine cellar, the Villa, the garden, and lunch. This winery has been in existence for many years, but has been modernized by the current family member living here. This winery has won many awards and is owned by the Corsini Family who have been in and around Florence since the Medici’s ruled. I might add that the Corsini’s are still going strong. We will not have an early start. There is a small market in San Gimignano which you will have time to visit if you choose. Hotel: Relais Hotel Centrale Included: Breakfast and lunch.

Friday, October 8
We will visit the garden of Villa Gamberaia today, and then return to Florence where are working with the family to arrange a tour of the Corsini garden. Unfortunately, Princess Corsini passed away in August of 2020, but the family is opening the garden on a limited basis. You will have some free time in Florence. We will meet in front of the Duomo (cathedral) Santa Maria del Fiore in the late afternoon to visit the Academia and ee (the real) David. Hotel: Relais Hotel Centrale Included: Breakfast.

Saturday, October 9
Today we will visit the Medici Tombs as a group. Afterwards you will have free time to visit the sites of your choice. Hotel: Relais Hotel Centrale Included: Breakfast.

Sunday, October 10
Return home from Florence with memories of a wonderful trip, or continue with us on an extension to Lake Maggiore where we will spend 3 nights at a lake front hotel.

For those of you who want a VACATION after a trip. Join us for an extension to Stresa, Italy in the lake district.
October 10-13. Fly home on the 14th of October

Sunday, October 10
Travel from Florence to Milan where we will meet our transportation and transfer to Stresa, one of my favorite places on earth! Before we arrive in Stresa we will stop at a Villa which has a garden with water tricks. There are not many of these that remain. It is not the best Villa that we have visited, nor the best garden, but you will love the water tricks. We will arrive in Stresa in the afternoon in time to get settled and do some investigating. Hotel: Regina Palace Included: Breakfast

Monday, October 11
Spend the day experiencing the gardens and villas on Lago Maggiore. They are wonderful and in my opinion can be visited again, and again. We will go as a group to Isola Bella to tour the Villa ,and garden, then you are on your own to experience this lake which is one of the ribbon lakes in Italy. There are 3 other gardens that you can visit, plus a fabulous abbey, Santa Caterina, with breath taking views. Actually, as many times as we have been here there are a few sites that we have never visited. I think it is because we love the ones we have visited so much. You can also take advantage of the services our hotel offers, as well as sit and sip a gin tonic or drink of your choice. The key to these three days is relax and live like an Italian. The ferry stops at several villages both in Italy and Switzerland so you will have enough to fill your days. There is no better way to end a trip than at Stresa. Hotel: Regina Palace, Stresa Included: Breakfast.

Tuesday, October 12
We will travel this morning to Villa Cicogna where we will tour and have lunch. This will be one of the best experiences of the trip with one of the best hosts. Eat gelato and relax. If you have not figured out the location of the best gelato establishment in Stresa, ask me. I know. Hotel: Regina Palace Included: Breakfast, lunch.

Wednesday, October 13
Fly home with memories of a great trip. We will provide transportation to Milan Malpensa for the flight home but please do not reservations on the 6:00 AM flight. We will leave the hotel no earlier than 6:00 AM. Plan you flight accordingly. If you have questions, please feel free to call or email.


The cost of this trip is $3495.00 and the extension is $600.00. Feel free to contact Linda Williams at or 317-408-3880 if you have questions.

Checks can be made payable to The American Boxwood Society. Space is limited.

Email us at to get on the waitlist!

Download our Booking Form

Also, feel free to contact Linda Williams of Garden Travelers at 317-408-3880 or for more information.



Symposium Update

Dear Members,

After much discussion and thought, the officers of The American Boxwood Society have made the decision to cancel the September 2021 Annual Symposium. This decision was made with input from the Symposium organizer, Hugh Crump. Many factors lead to the decision and it was not one made lightly.

Hugh Crump has agreed to proceed with plans for an Annual Symposium to be held in the Charlotte, NC area for Spring of 2022!

The Annual Meeting, which was to have been part of the Symposium, has not been cancelled but postponed. You will be receiving information about the date, time and place in the very near future. We are planning a Zoom meeting so that you of will be able to participate via your computer or by phone.

Keep watching this space for updates about both the virtual Annual Membership Meeting this fall AND the Annual Symposium in Charlotte this spring. We will also keep members updated through our e-newsletters.

From my garden to yours,
John Makar, President


Blandy Experimental Farm

Check out the American Boxwood Society's Boxwood Memorial Garden during events at Blandy.



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