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The Living Fences

The beauty of Italy is not confined to just art-rich museums and stunning architecture. Making sure that your environment is beautiful seems to be pretty much a way of life here.

Potted plants used to create a living barrier, Vicenza, Italy

There is an aesthetics of the small things. The most banal expressions of daily life are turned into a form of art. In other countries they will be, if not neglected, then at least subjugated to reason and practicality. Here, beauty and artistry take precedence.

Rose bush fence, Vicenza, Italy -

Just a small example: fences. This most common symbol of separation. A fence is destined to keep us hidden from the outside world, to make us feel secure in the knowledge that we are safely tucked away behind a physical protective layer.

Wild jasmine shrub fence, Vicenza, Italy

Yet, fences in Vicenza seem to have an added function. They protect, but in an aesthetically pleasing way. They separate but through the force of leaves and blooms. They isolate, yet you can not begrudge them, as they are so beautiful to look at, it is easy to forget that their primary goal is to keep you at arm’s length from what’s behind them.

A living fence, Vicenza, Italy -

For the fences I see surrounding houses and embracing buildings all over town are built up by flowering shrubs. From wild jasmine…

Wild jasmin shrub fence, Vicenza, Italy

to photinia…

Photinia Little Red Robin shrub fence, Vicenza, Italy

and even huge rose bushes.

Rose shrubs living fence, Medieval castle, Este, Veneto, Italy -

Everywhere I walk, the air smells of blooms, of late spring and of promise of summer.

Pink and red roses, Medieval castle, Este, Veneto, Italy -

Wild jasmine blooms, Vicenza, Italy

The shrubs are thick, with dense foliage and enchanting flowers. Only occasionally a spot left uncovered by their twisted branches reveals how interconnected the shrubs have become with the wire mesh of the original fences. They have grown over it and through its holes for such a long time, that it is now difficult to say where the mesh starts and where the shrubs ends.

Wild Jasmine shrub fence, Vicenza, Italy

The shrub has become part of the fence, Vicenza, Italy

And the achieved effect is stunning.

Living fence, Medieval castle, Este, Veneto, Italy -

The city looks green and it feels green. Houses and villas surrounded by blooming fences line up fully long long streets. Vicenza feels welcoming.

A living fence, Vicenza, Italy

Yes, the living fences serve their purpose, they are not just for show, but they don’t feel alienating.

A living fence, Vicenza, Italy -

Living fence with a utility pole covered by a huge rose shrub, Rittorgole, Vicenza, Italy

They are a thing of beauty. A simple, everyday thing which has been turned into en expression of the art of living a soul-satisfying life.

A rose bush and fresh laundry, Vicenza, Italy

Have you noticed the living fences in Vicenza and/or all over Italy? Which shrub is your favourite? I love the fences of fragrant wild jasmine. It is lovely passing by them and just breathing in the scented air. 

Wild jasmine shrub, Vicenza, Italy

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Rose fence, Medieval castle, Este, Veneto, Italy -

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