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Italian Gardens

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Alex Ramsay and Helena Attlee. ellipsis, 2000. 400pp. £15

In the usual small square format, but now with colour photographs as well as black-and-white, this useful new ellipsis guide describes almost 70 Italian gardens as well as giving basic facts of location and access. But the complete absence of plans is an irritant.

Pictured is part of the sixteenth-century Mannerist garden at Bomarzo by Pier Francesco Orsini: '. . . best seen on a winter's day in mid-week. When it is deserted, and the statues stand abandoned among the fallen leaves, it is possible to catch something of the mysterious atmosphere that Orsini wished to create.'

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