Growing An Elegant Living Tree Cathedral in Italy

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I am planning a family trip to Italy later this fall.  Unfortunately, I think we will miss being able to see gardens and general greenery as it will be too late in the season.

This morning, my good friend emailed me about this tree cathedral that is being inaugurated tomorrow (September 4th 2010).  I think even without greenery — this may be end up being a stop on our tour.

tree cathedral bergamo italy

image from

The Tree Cathedral is located outside of Bergamo, Italy, on the slopes of the Arera mountain, and is the creation of famed Italian contemporary artist, Giuliano Mauri.

tree cathedral bergami alps italy

Giuliano Mauri, is a ‘natural architect’ who died in May 2009. The structure was his last work, to signify the International Year of Biodiversity. It stands 21 metres tall, with five aisles and 42 columns. It’s 28.5 metres long and 24 metres wide, and has been built from 1800 firs, 600 chestnut branches and 6000 metres of hazel branch that’s been weaved into the design. 42 beeches have been planted inside, which will grow over time to provide the roof to the structure, which remains open to the rain for the time being.   Here are some interesting images of the making of the cathedrale, but with all good gardens, I am excited to keep an eye on this one and see how it matures with time.

tree cathdral bergamo italy

tree cathedral bergamo italy

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Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.


  1. [email protected] on September 3, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Very cool. A friend of mine brought back pictures from a tree cathedral she visited in Holland this summer, but it wasn’t nearly as elaborate as this– or at least not as gothic. If you go please take lots of pictures!

  2. Louise on September 3, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    This looks like a wonderful trip- northern Italy has great design, cuisine and natural features.

  3. ~fer on September 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    That is very impressive!
    it looks great even now without plants.
    I wonder how it will be once they grow and cover it all. It will be amazing

  4. layanee on September 4, 2010 at 7:58 am

    The pictures look glorious. I can almost imagine walking through the allee of vertical stalks. It looks surreal. I hope there are some gardens which you can tour at this time of year.

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