Über das Buch
Renaissance gardens in the territory of the Dubrovnik Republic developed as organised designed open spaces around country houses built throughout the 15th and 16th centuries in a period of great economic and cultural development in Dubrovnik. Favourable conditions were created in Dubrovnik itself over the centuries preceding the Renaissance period and contributed to the genesis of these gardens, such as sophisticated building skills, crafts and arts, advanced agriculture and horticulture, and town planning, which started in the 13th century and continued in subsequent centuries. In addition, there was also the existence of landscaped garden areas designated for leisure purposes, monasteries with cloister gardens and the gardens of the landed nobility situated around suburban houses. The articulation of the countryside and the indentation of Dubrovnik's coastline, the dispersion of estates and the specific relationships within the governing aristocracy contributed to the erection of numerous villas and gardens within limited areas. This was carried out mostly in the territory of old Dubrovnik, which is a particular characteristic of the phenomenon of Dubrovnik villas. The Renaissance gardens, as well as the villas that they surrounded, reflected the understanding, needs and potentials of Dubrovnik society in the period. In comparison with Italian gardens, Dubrovnik Renaissance gardens are more modest, simpler and usually cover from 2, 000 to 5, 000 m2. Two elements are dominant; stone and verdure. Water sources as composition elements in Dubrovnik gardens are usually missing, which is in accordance with the dry, karst features of the Dubrovnik area. The articulation of Dubrovnik Renaissance gardens was mostly influenced by the configuration of the terrain. Garden terraces were built on sloping areas and were supported by stone walls and connected by staircases with footpaths with planted verdure along them. These garden terraces were lined in cascades along the slopes following their irregularities, which resulted in an absence of symmetrical continuity in garden terraces around staircases. On low, flat surfaces, the articulation of gardens into garden forms was carried out through articulating the space into quadrangles. The regularity of garden forms much depended on the underlying garden shape, which was often irregular. All this indicates the flexible application of a geometrical design model without an insistence on the precision of geometrical forms and symmetry. A distinct feature of Dubrovnik Renaissance gardens was ensuring free open views of the attractive surrounding countryside. In gardens located on hill slopes, such views of the surrounding countryside opened from paths on which belvederes were often built. Gardens on terrain along the sea around bays and coves had special terraces or belvederes stretching towards the sea which also served as arsenals. Such terraces formed an architectural wholeness with the residential buildings on the estate and were connected with the premises on upper floors and with the gardens. The opening of the garden area onto the natural surroundings and possible immediate contact with the sea either physically or visually is a characteristic of many gardens, which makes them typical littoral gardens. The pergola is an outstanding element always present in Dubrovnik Renaissance gardens. Depending on the pattern of individual gardens, the pergola often appears as a system connecting the whole garden area. Pergolas are always supported by a colonnade of finely modelled stone columns. The pergola is a very special element enhancing the image and iconography of these gardens. There was no need for the strict trimming of verdure in Dubrovnik Renaissance gardens. The main walkways were flanked by stone walls often accompanied by columns of pergolas. Neither was there any need to plant hedges or green walls to follow the system of garden communications. It is clear that Dubrovnik Renaissance gardens have numerous common characteristics regarding their concept and manner of construction. Distinguishable by their typological landscaping features, within the framework of Renaissance garden art they are classified as a separate group under the common term: Dubrovnik Renaissance gardens.