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A Day in Perugia Medieval Garden
Thursday 21 August 2008
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Wander in the medieval garden of Perugia University (Italy) on the trail of the Garden of Eden, symbol of the Paradise and one of the principal founding myths of European civilization.


- to link history, language skill and visual arts

- to discover and report a place by sharpening the five senses, by developing one’s relation to time and space


- to account for a route by sketches, words, colours, maps

- to bring to the fore the typical features of a medieval monastic garden

- to produce texts and visual works linked to this theme


- cameras

- notebooks, pencils

- a map of the medieval garden (cf. document)


Perugia Medieval Garden JPEG

The garden map and text, respectfully created by Renato Menghini and Alessandro Menghini.


Beforehand: work in parallel on:

- the medieval European history, the monastery role, the monks’ life.

- the representation of the Paradise through pictures, texts, mosaics and carpets. (See also the “Garden-carpet")

The Terrestrial Paradise symbolisation

Use a notebook, a camera, to take down by sketches and annotations some typical features of Eden, symbolised in the garden by: the enclosed garden, “cosmic tree", Eden Rivers (“Phison", “Gehon", “Tigris", and “Euphrates"), the “cosmogonical egg", cross-shaped symbolisms, the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil", the four springs from which flow water, honey, milk and wine, the Dark Forest, Evil, Hell…

Realise it is a contemporary work, a free interpretation of Eden, source of the occidental garden, which has given rise to many different representations according to periods and cultures.

The “Hortus Sanitaris"

Classify, draw, write down the names of the plants growing in this “simple"? garden, that is to say a garden filled with medicinal plants. Find out about the ancient use and properties of these plants.

The “Hortus Holerorum" JPEG

With the touch, smell and taste senses, explore this garden constituted by nourishing and aromatic plants. Link the garden structure in seven circular tanks to the symbolisation of the seven planets known in the Middle-Ages. Realise this layout mentions the astral influence on the plant biological rhythms.

The “Fishpond", the “Pommarium" (apple orchard), the “Patio"

Wonder about their role, their function in the Middle-Ages.


Create visual works from this route:

- a travel book
- a representation of Eden: drawing, painting, text, work set on the ground or “Garden-carpet"


Capacity for the pupil/student:

- to express in a personal or collective work some elements of the medieval garden of Perugia University
- to observe and describe a map, a painting symbolising Eden using the vocabulary seen during this activity



A. Menghini, “Il Giardino dello Spirito-Viaggio tra I simbolismi di un Orto Medievale", Ed. AMP –Perugia 1998

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