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Città Studi Botanic Garden
This university botanic garden was created in 2002 in a 25,000 square metre area around the 15th century Cascina Rosa, of which just ruins remain today. Like the Brera and Toscolano Maderno (Lake Garda) gardens, it belongs to the University. Its facilities include three state-of-the-art greenhouses.
The many paths wind through lawns, native Lombard trees, a small stream and lake, with all sorts of plants. Some of these are examples of species that were imported from the 18th century on. The large trees in the garden provide an indication of the original vegetation in the ancient park.
Don't miss the three glasshouses, large structures that are virtually unequalled in Europe. They were designed with the objective of physically and biologically protecting the plant species grown inside, and above all to maintain their biological purity. One of them is particularly important for the winter conservation of plants; the other two are highly automated, and they make it possible to conduct advanced research in compliance with the latest molecular technology.
Overall, the glasshouses contain ten independent compartments in terms of climate and photoperiodicity. The research programmes, one of which is, by way of example, the genetic enhancement of rice, are run by the Department of Biology at Milan University, and they are financed by the European Union.
In 1948, film director Vittorio De Sica chose the area between the Ortica district and Cascina Rosa to shoot a series of scenes for the movie «Miracolo a Milano».
The garden management is working with Lipu (Lega Italiana Protezioni Uccelli, Italy's bird protection organization) in order to encourage birds to nest in the trees on the estate. Special visiting routes for the blind and the disabled are being installed.
This botanic garden was founded with research and educational functions, but also to give the general public the chance to learn more about plant species, by reconstructing typically Lombard habitats. The green area continues the tradition of botanic gardens, which first appeared with the advent of research on medicinal plants that was conducted in many Italian cities during the 15th century.
They later spread further afield, reaching central Europe. At Cascina Rosa, every plant has a label indicating common and scientific names. They include azaleas, camellias, pine, oak, spontaneous and cultivated plants, plants for the kitchen, native and imported plants. The latter include the willow, and others, such as the Japanese hazel, which were imported from as early as the Middle Ages to provide exotic decoration for Lombard gardens.