How an Italian Writer’s Imaginary Garden Became a Place of Literary Pilgrimage

Mar 10, 2019 703

BY: Diego Courchay

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis is not a real place. We should say that first. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it is, and you wouldn’t be alone. It was invented in Giorgio Bassani’s 1962 historical novel of the same name, and in the 1970 Oscar-winning movie adaptation.

It is a place of young love, refuge, and tennis, a place so carefully and lovingly described in the book that many devoted readers are certain it must be there, somewhere in the city of Ferrara, in Italy’s northeastern province of Emilia Romagna. And so thanks to literary imagination, countless travelers and tourists have made a secular pilgrimage to Ferrara’s wide avenues.

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