Orticolario has Playing theme this year

“You can deny, if you like, nearly all abstractions: justice, beauty, truth, goodness, mind, God. You can deny seriousness, but not play”. This is what the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga wrote in 1938 in his famous essay Homo Ludens. “Playing” is the theme of Orticolario 2018, a complex and fascinating concept that, while taking on the most varied shades, looks perfect for the celebration of its tenth edition.

This year’s theme tickles the fancy of the participants in the International Competition “Creative Spaces” for the design and creation of gardens and artistic installations. The eight finalists were evaluated by the Awarding Commission among numerous proposals sent by architects, designers, landscapers, artists, gardeners and nurserymen from all over Italy and Europe. These eight “fantasists” will literally play the game relying on inspiration, irony, mystery and sense of wonder.

The chosen participants will execute their projects in the historic park of Villa Erba in Cernobbio during Orticolario from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 October 2018: original and innovative spaces, liveable and usable gardens, new ideas for gardens and artistic installations will offer a different relationship with nature and with others.

The creations will be evaluated by an international jury that will assign the sculpture award “La Foglia d’oro del Lago di Como” to the best work. The prize is a sinuous-formed vase on which a large leaf flutters with “hints” of pure gold (24K), designed and made by Gino Seguso of the historical Vetreria Artistica Archimede Seguso of Murano (Venice). The prize will be kept by the winner for a limited period after which it will remain on display at Villa Carlotta (Tremezzina, CO) until the next edition: the re-awarding ceremony for the 2017 award, assigned to the designer Roberto Landello with the Spazio Garden Lignano “Ciclicità lunare” (Lunar Cyclicity), will be held in line with tradition at Villa Carlotta on Friday, April 13, at 11.00 a.m.

“The chosen projects are intriguing, astonishing and surprising. They interact with the Genius loci of the park of Villa Erba, reinterpreting and “contaminating” it with artistic expressions and daring reflections – as Anna Rapisarda, curator of Orticolario, explains – These will be spaces to be lived in, where you can also have fun, because, in the end, going back over the centuries, the garden is born out of play, to give pure pleasure and to dedicate time to pleasure.”

In addition to “La Foglia d’oro del Lago di Como” Award, the jury will award other prizes: the “Experience Award” for a space that tells, communicates and moves; the “Footprint Award” for novelties of materials and the eco-sustainability; the “Art Award” for a space where art and nature coexist in balance and where different languages are effectively synthesized; the “Great Italian Gardens Award” for a space of lights and shapes that communicates tradition and novelties; and finally the “Visitors’ choice Award” for the garden or the artistic installation voted by the public.


1. “space ship”

Designed and made by Mirco Colzani (Paina di Giussano, MB)

FB: Mirco Colzani Garden Designer


  1. Spazio Fratelli Leonelli Manutenzione e cura del Paesaggio “Good Vibrations…”

Project by Stefania Pluchino (Castelletto Sopra Ticino, NO)



  1. Spazio Vivai Piante Battistini “Meet me halfway”

Project by Andrea Camassa (Bologna)


  1. Spazio Associazione Animum Ludendo Coles “Chi semina gioco raccoglie un animo fiorente e rigoglioso” (Those who sow the plays, reap a strong and blooming soul)

Project by Furio Ferri (Lodi)



  1. Spazio Green Passion “La Topitta”

Project by Leonardo Magatti (Cernobbio, CO)


  1. “Il gioco è il tempo” (Play is time)

Designed and made by MetalliFilati (Cremona)




  1. “Castelli di salvia” (Sage castles)

Designed and made by CIRIBÌ (Como)



  1. Spazio Jolly PVC “V. Rubik, l’orto modulare” (the modular vegetable garden)

Project by Marco Bellotti (Traona, SO)



Orticolario, now in its tenth edition, is an event dedicated to the passion for gardens, a celebration of nature in all its multiform expressions. Scene of the event will be the historic park of Villa Erba in Cernobbio (CO), a nineteenth-century villa overlooking the shores of Lake Como, which was also the residence of the director Luchino Visconti. Essence of Orticolario: the gardens set up in the park, inspired by the theme of the year and selected through the International Competition “Creative Spaces”. The theme of Orticolario 2018 is “Playing”, while the starring flower is Sage. The event is enriched by a wide range of rare, unusual and collectible plants, artistic craftsmanship and design, a rich calendar of meetings and numerous educational and creative workshops for children. During the three day event funds will be raised and donated to Larian associations involved in social issues. Lastly, the 2017 edition involved 280 exhibitors and up to 25,000 visitors.



5 – 7 October 2018 Villa Erba, Cernobbio (CO), on Lake Como

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