Despite the fact that Milan has a very small amount of green space in comparison to other cities of the same size,the city does boast a wide variety of parks and gardens. The first public parks were established 1857 and 1862, and were designed by Giuseppe Balzaretto. They were situated in a “green park district”, found in the areas of Piazzale Oberdan (Porta Venezia), Corso Venezia, Via Palestro and Via Manin. Most of them were landscaped in a Neoclassical style and represented traditionalEnglish gardens, often full of botanic richness. Since 1990 Milan is surrounded by the regional Parco Agricolo Sud Milano that wraps the southern half of the city, connecting Ticino Park in the west and Adda Park in the east. The Park was instituted in order to safeguard and enhance the old agricultural landscape and activities, woodlands and natural reserves, with an overall size of 47,000 hectares.
The most important parks in Milan are the set of adjacent parks in the western area of the city forming Parco Agricolo Sud Milano (Parco delle Cave, 131 hectares; Boscoincittà, 110 hectares; and Trenno Park, 59 hectares, whose total area amounts to about 300 hectares), Sempione Park, Parco Forlanini, Giardini Pubblici, Giardino della Villa Comunale, Giardini della Guastalla and Lambro Park. Sempione Park is a large public park, situated between the Castello Sforzesco and the Peace Arch, near Piazza Sempione. It was built by Emilio Alemagna, and contains a Napoleonic Arena, the Milan City Aquarium, a tower, an art exhibition centre, some ponds and a library. Then there is Parco Forlani, which, with a size of 235 hectares is the largest park in Milan, and contains a hill and a pond. Giardini Pubblici is among Milan’s oldest remaining public parks, founded on 29 November 1783, and completed around 1790.It is landscaped in English style, containing a pond, a Natural History Museum of Milan and the Neoclassical Villa Reale. Giardini della Guastalla is also one of the oldest gardens in Milan, and consists mainly of a decorated fish pond.
Milan also hosts three important botanical gardens: the Milan University Experimental Botanical Garden (a small botanical garden operated by the Istituto di Scienze Botaniche), the Brera Botanical Garden(another botanical garden, founded in 1774 by Fulgenzio Witman, an abbot under the orders of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and restored in 1998 after several years of abandonment) and the Cascina Rosa Botanical Garden. On January 23, 2003 a Garden of the Righteous was established in Monte Stella to commemorate those who opposed genocides and crimes against humankind. It hosts trees dedicated toMoshe Bejski, Andrei Sakharov, the founders of the Gardens of the Righteous in Yerevan and Pietro Kuciukian, and others. The decision to commemorate a “Righteous” person in this Garden is made every year by a commission of high-profile characters.
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