Friday, March 5, 2010

Save the Dates! Upcoming Giusvalla and Squirrel Run Related Events at Winterthur

St. Anthony's Day, Sunday, June 13, 2010

Last day of the Wilmington Italian Festival, Winterthur Museum invites you to participate in their Proud to be Italian Day.

$5 discount off the price of general admission to anyone who holds a ticket to the Italian festival or says they are "Proud to be Italian."

This offer is made in conjunction with the March 27-July 25 Exhibition:

Lost Gardens of the Brandywine

In the 1920s and 30s, the Wilmington area became known as one of the centers of horticulture in the United States. Italian gardeners were an essential component to the high quality of the gardens. Unlike the owners or designers, staff contributions to individual gardens were largely unacknowledged and are now mostly forgotten.

At Winterthur for example, no family except the du Ponts had as much of an impact as the Felicianis, three generations of whom have helped shape the landscape. Joseph Feliciani, born in Italy, began at Winterthur as a gardener in the 1920s. His father-in-law, Abraham Ragazzo, worked on what was known as the Bull Gang, building the roads of the estate. In the 1930s Joseph and his son, Albert, were among the hundreds turning Winterthur into one of the premier naturalistic gardens of the world.

A surprising number of the gardeners were from the town of Giusvalla, in the Liguria region of northwestern Italy. Many of the men worked at the DuPont Gunpowder Mills on the Brandywine and on various du Pont estates as gardeners in the early 20th century. Some went on to be mushroom farmers as well. The community remains active to this day.

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