After a few days in hectic, commercial Milan we were quickly seduced by Verona’s quiet charm. Of course it’s also built on commerce, wool-dyeing to be exact. We visited Giardino Guisti, the property of an ancient wool-dyeing family, made on land where they once had their dying vats and next to their palazzo.
The garden is maintained all’antica, preserving the Renaissance tone, with architectural features and references to Classical mythology. There are few flowers or shrubs and the more recent additions of exotic plants have been removed. The garden makes clever use of the hilly site, with a path up to a grotto from where you can look down over the house.
Part of the house is open to the public as The 20th-Century Apartment. It has the slightly shabby, under-curated air typical of private museums.
From 1921 until it was damaged in the war it was the residence of Giovanni and Nora Guisti and their children Francesco, Alfonso and Carlo Alberto. It’s been restored as it was during their occupancy and the style is not of the 20th century but the 19th. Among the silk hangings and ornate furniture are letters from Gabriele d’Annunzio and family photos – albums of holidays in Cornwall captioned in English and this uncaptioned fancy dress party.