Brooklyn Orchids

Honeymoon in Italy: Orchid Spotting

Orchids in a Venice flower shop
Orchids in a Venice flower shop

My husband and I returned from our belated honeymoon a couple weeks ago, but it feels like we were in Italy just yesterday! We took a two week trip that was sorely needed, and it did not disappoint. Not to mention, I was pleasantly surprised to see orchids pretty much everywhere we went!

Our trip to the Dolomites (which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone who likes gorgeous scenery and fresh mountain air) did not yield any wild orchid spottings, as most of the orchids that grow in that part of the world only in bloom in June and July. However, SO many of the adorable alpine homes and businesses in our little town of Ortisei (in the Val Gardena area) had orchids in the windows, including our hotel—the Alpin Garden Wellness Resort, which I also highly recommend. In fact, the lobby and breakfast room of our hotel was just filled with orchids! If you follow Brooklyn Orchids on Instagram you’ve probably already seen some of the photos I posted.

While in the Dolomites, we took a hike in the Alpe di Siusi, a huge open meadow up in the mountains. I just have to share a couple of the photos from there because it’s unreal how beautiful and perfect that area is:

IMG_2635

Wildflowers in the Dolomites
Wildflowers in the Dolomites

While in the Italian Alps, we drove to the town of Merano (not to be confused with Murano, the island off of Venice known for its glassblowing, which we also visited) to check out Trauttmansdorff Castle and Gardens. The “Touriseum” at the castle had an exhibit called The Birds and the Bees: A Botanical Perspective and it included a bit about orchids, which of course I had to take a photo of:

An orchid specimen on display
An orchid specimen on display

The day we arrived in our little town of Sestri Levante in the Italian Riviera, it was overcast and not great weather for basking in the sun. The next day offered more of the same, so we took a mini road trip in our rented Volvo (which we named Fritz) to Genoa to see the aquarium. The Acquario di Genova didn’t really look like much from the outside, but it was surprisingly large and had very nice exhibits. And of course I didn’t miss the Phalaenopsis orchids growing in a couple of the amphibians’ terrarium habitats:

Phal—in spike!—growing as it would in the wild
Phal growing as it would in the wild
More Phals inside a habitat
More Phals inside a habitat

On our quick trip to Riomaggiore, one of the beautiful coastal Cinque Terre towns, we passed by a house with tons of Cymbidiums growing outside the front door:

Somebody loves their Cyms
Somebody loves their Cyms

It took almost the entire five days in Sestri Levante for me to realize that there were out-of-bloom Paphiopedilums growing on our hotel property:

The first lady slipper I spotted
The first lady slipper I spotted

Once I saw that orchid, I began noticing them everywhere:

Paphs in the ground
Paphs in the ground
More Paphs growing at our hotel
More Paphs growing at our hotel
Still more...
Still more…

I could be wrong about these plants being Paphs, but that first one looked like it still had the remains of a spike and bloom on it and it very much appeared to be a dried out lady slipper spike and flower.

And for good measure, I suddenly realized that the potted plant next to the lobby was also some type of orchid…possibly another Paph, but the growth seems too dense for that to be the case:

Any idea what type of orchid this is?
Any idea what type of orchid this is?
A closer look at an offshoot of the potted orchid
A closer look at an offshoot of the potted orchid

So there you have it—lots of good orchid sightings in Italy. Even out-of-bloom orchids are fun to spot; it’s so nerdy that I get so excited about seeing them. Now I leave you with this:

Get thee to the Dolomites.
Get thee to the Dolomites.

4 thoughts on “Honeymoon in Italy: Orchid Spotting

    1. Yeah, I could totally be wrong about it. It’d be nice to visit the Dolomites in June/July when all the wildflowers are in bloom!

      1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_(plant)#Gallery

        i bet those are irises.

        if not related Gladiolus

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladiolus

        plant in the pot probably in the Agave family.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorophytum_comosum

        winter would get too cold for Paphiopedilum orchids to survive, and mediterranean summers are very dry, so definitely not the environment for tropical orchids without pseudobulbs and probably the pollinating insects and symbiotic fungi would be missing from the soil. I bet some cold tolerant orchids like Laelia anceps, some Dendrobiums, those hybrid Cymbidium can tolerate winter frost and dry summers there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll To Top
%d bloggers like this: