The Bosco Isabella
The romantic-esoteric garden with a mysterious pyramid
The Bosco Isabella is a romantic-esoteric garden stretching along a part of the road that runs around the town’s southern-most walls. Easily reached from the town centre, it extends over approximately 2.5 kilometres. It was built on arable land by the Luchini family from the end of the 19th century to the Second World War. The construction of the garden is thanks to Odoardo Luchini, Garibaldine in the third war of Independence and then deputy and senator of the Kingdom; to his wife Isabella Andreucci in whose honour the garden was named and to their only daughter Matilde Luchini, painter of the Macchiaioli school. Odoardo’s passion for English-style gardens grew deeper during his many travels to Anglo-Saxon countries. In its creation he tried to build something that was in harmony with nature without violating it in any way, a nature free of any ties to humankind. They built pathways, dry-stone walls and bridges, created plans, highlighted basalt rocks, uneven ground and existing water sources.
In 1902, they found the remains of an ancient polygonal building, perhaps an Etruscan place of worship or perhaps even dating further back as well as the remains of a small Siennese fort that overlooked the Via Francigena and which was then destroyed by the Medici in the battle of 1555. A trilateral stone pyramid was built in the centre of the garden: one of the many symbols that refer to the family’s Masonic connections. The trees found here are mainly Lawson Cypresses, Hemlocks and Sequoias from North America, English Yews, Cedars from Lebanon, Himalayan Cedars and European Pines, Cypresses, Lindens, Chestnuts, Elms, Maples of varying species, Hollies, Wild Cherries, Common Aspens, Horse Chestnuts, Austrian Oaks, Bays, Acacias, etc. As mentioned, the Luchini family belonged to a Masonic Lodge and tried to recreate a sort of initiative-esoteric journey in the garden, an open-air Masonic temple.
And so many of the things that may seem natural in actual fact were studied specifically, like the disposition of some essences or trees organised in groups of three (a symbolic number), the buried earthenware jar in front of the square which reflects the basin of the temple of Solomon used for ablutions, or the two large rocks placed at the entrance of the pathway that leads to the pyramid, representing the two columns – Boaz and Jachin – of Solomon’s temple, the boxwood hedge in the shape of a circle representing the overseeing eye, and the trilateral pyramid – Free Masonry’s main symbol.
The Bosco Isabella was nominated a place of public interest in a law passed in 1922, ranked among the places of natural beauty by another law in 1939, purchased by the Council of Radicofani in 1983, and is today listed by the Authorities as a Monumental Garden.