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Distributed for University Press of New England

The Wildest Place on Earth

Italian Gardens and the Invention of Wilderness

This is the ironic story of how Italian Renaissance and Baroque gardens encouraged the preservation of the American wilderness and ultimately fostered the creation of the world’s first national park system. Told via Mitchell’s sometimes disastrous and humorous travels—from the gardens of southern Italy up through Tuscany and the lake island gardens—the book is filled with history, folklore, myths, and legends of Western Europe, including a detailed history of the labyrinth, a common element in Renaissance gardens. In his attempt to understand the Italian garden in detail, Mitchell set out to create one on his own property—with a labyrinth.

216 pages | 6 x 8 1/2


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Table of Contents

Preface to the New Edition • Prologue • Contact • The Great Forest • In a Green Shade • The Genteel Romantics • Italian Reveries • Into the Wild • The Italian Debt • The Cathedral in the Pines • The Fate of the Earth • Backyard Serengeti • Epilogue: The Persistence of Pan

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