Italian Word of the Day: Giardino (garden)

The word for garden in Italian is giardino (masculine, plural: giardini). Both come from the French jardin which in turn derives from the Germanic gart or garto.

IPA: /dʒarˈdino/

Giardino can refer to any kind of garden, from the small variety (giardinetto) to the stately kinds that surround large houses. Some of the most popular types include:

  • giardino di fiori = flower garden
  • giardino botanico = botanic garden
  • giardino roccioso = rock garden
  • giardino pensile = hanging garden
  • giardino ornamentale = ornamental garden
  • giardino di erbe aromatiche = herb garden
  • giardino all’inglese = English garden
  • giardino zoologico = zoo (often Italians just say zoo)
garden at the back of a summer house
Un bel giardino sul retro = a beautiful garden at the back

La casa è circondata da un giardino immenso.

The house is surrounded by an immense garden.

The way you’d say to garden in Italian is fare giardinaggio (lit: to do gardening) but there are other verbs you’ll often see used alongside this word as well such as curare il giardino (to garden / take care of the garden) and lavorare in giardino (to work in the garden).

Gardening tools and spring flowers in the garden
Lavorare in giardino = Working in the garden

Two other possible translations for giardino in English are yard, referring to the area outside of one’s house, and park. Un giardino pubblico, for example, specifically denotes a large park with paths, trees, plants, animals, benches and a playground for children, created within the boundaries of a city for the entertainment of its inhabitants. (Keep in mind that in this sense, it is often used in the plural form giardini pubblici.)

Porto i bambini ai giardini pubblici dopo la scuola.

I’ll take the kids to the park after school.

park in the middle of a city
Central Park a New York

Giardino can also function as an adjective to describe places that are surrounded by greenery such as a garden city (città giardino), the word for a self-contained residential community designed with lots of open green spaces.

A giardiniere is the generic word for a gardener whereas giardiniera, in addition to meaning female gardener, can also translate as pickled vegetables or jardiniere, an ornamental pot or stand for the display of growing plants.

Figuratively speaking, giardino may be used to describe a country that is fertile, verdant and pleasant.

L’Italia è il giardino d’Europa.

Italy is the garden of Europe.

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