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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Once I saw that orchid, I began noticing them everywhere:
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:
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:
I’d like to visit the Dolomites again. Those that you captioned as Paphiopedilums look like Irises to me. Not orchids…
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!
i bet those are irises.
if not related Gladiolus
plant in the pot probably in the Agave family.
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.