The post about the nearby vegetable garden that was open to the public reminded me of the "Open Gardens" day in Lucca. I originally commented on this in my earlier Overseas blog, but this time I'll also post some pictures.
When we were in Lucca, our attention was caught by a garden that we passed, and we discovered that very day was open gardens day in Lucca. Six historic and quite different private gardens around the town were open for inspection. A couple of these were close by, so we visited them. There was no charge and volunteers were on duty (encouraging people to enter), all apparently in the interests of civic pride.
The first two were were amazing oasis's of green and order in private courtyards, surrounded by the narrow alleyways and buildings of the old town. One thing led to another, and before the afternoon was over we had visited all six gardens, all within the walls of the old town. Many had histories extending over centuries, and one was quite large, with an expanse of lawn as well as hidden walkways through the bushes. One of them was said to have some unusual plants, which I think was intended to refer to the callistemon and grevilleas! In the course of the day we walked for kilometres around town but it was worth it as we felt privileged to have had the opportunity to see a side of Lucca that we hadn't appreciated existed.