Monty Don’s Italian Gardens starts this Friday night (15 April) – 9pm on BBC2. Watch a preview:

Over four hours, Monty Don will be conducting a very personal ‘grand garden tour’ around Italy.

He’ll be seeking out romantic, horticultural gems of the rural South and visiting the retreats of the affluent North where, in the Veneto, Lucca and the Lakes, Monty finds gardens that are flirtatious and fun.

In Florence he will be finding out how in the Renaissance, garden-making became a high art and how a group of Edwardian expats mistakenly reinforced the idea that Italian gardens were flowerless.

And in Rome, the powerbase of Emperors and Popes, Monty will visit gardens that are among some of the most extravagant and flamboyant ever created in history.

Along the way Monty will be meeting local Italians who are keeping alive the passion for the land and he’ll be peering over the fence of secret gardens belonging to the rich and famous.

Monty reveal the history, culture, politics and the climate that has shaped Italy’s spectacular gardens; ranking them among the great treasures of the world.

Guide to the series:

Programme 1

Monty Don begins his grand tour around Italy’s magnificent gardens from the lavish hideaways of the romantic South to the luxurious retreats of the moneyed North. He’s in and around Rome, powerbase of emperors and popes to explore gardens that are among some of the most extravagant and flamboyant ever created in history.

 Programme 2 

Monty’s visiting gardens in Florence and around the sun scorched Tuscan countryside. Monty discovers how like a piece of sculpture, renaissance gardens were created as works of art and how a group of Edwardian ex-pats mistakenly reinforced the idea that formal Italian gardens were flowerless.

 Programme 3 

Monty continues his grand garden tour, this week in Naples to visit some of the most sublime, romantic retreats in Southern Italy. After all the formality of the green gardens around Rome and Florence, Monty seeks out idyllic horticultural gems set against the dramatic scenery of the Amalfi Coast, to discover why in the South, gardens are informal and above all filled with flowers.

 Programme 4 

Monty concludes his garden tour of Italy in the wealthy North where in the Veneto and Lucca, extravagant pleasure gardens were created for flirtation and fun. Further north in the Lakes, Monty meets up with the garden society, the Grandi Giardini Italiani, to peer over the fence of luxurious creations of the rich and famous. The journey ends on Lake Maggiore to see the most theatrical horticultural gem of Italy.