Michele Tenore remained the director until 1860 and during his 50 years as director  he amplified the collections in the garden, taking the number of cultivated species to about 9,000. He busied himself in establishing relations with the principal European Botanic Institutions, thus making known and appreciated in other countries the place he directed. 

Among the various activities carried out by the Partenopean Garden during the time of Tenore we must remember the scientific research, the cultivation of medicinal plants, the teaching methods used, the planning of Royal Borboni sites and the harvesting, multiplication and diffusion of exotic plants. These were usually acclimatized in the “temperate heaters” and in the “hot heaters” which  from 1818 were side by side.

Guglielmo Gasparrini followed Michele Tenore as director. During his directorship of the Garden from 1861 to 1866 he rearranged some areas which had fallen into a state of abandon during the latter years of Tenore’s directorship. These areas were the arboretum, the citrus groves and the orchards. Furthermore a  “small valley” was created for the cultivation of alpine plants and a new, heated greenhouse was built in substitution of the previous one. He was also engaged in the rearrangement of the Botanical Museum and putting into place the herbarium which had been enlarged since the time of Tenore.

Upon the death of Gasparrini, Giuseppe Antonio Pasquale was nominated temporary director  and in 1868 Vincenzo Cesati was given the directorship. He remained at the gardens until 1883, the   year of his death. The principal event that characterized the garden during this period was the construction of a new, heated greenhouse.

Subsequently the directorship passed again to Giuseppe Antonio Pasquale until the end of 1893. During his time  Pasquale was able to prevent the realization of a project  which would have seen the construction of new branches of University Institutions in the area where the Botanical Garden was situated.

Federico Delpino was the successor of Pasquale and remained in office until 1905. The main problem he had to contend with was the poor sensibility of University authorities towards the Botanical Garden resulting in both economical and management problems which led to a slow decline of the organization.

Numerous changes took place during this period when the director nominated was Fridiano Cavara (1906 -1929). He enlarged the collections and created an area for the xerophyte and the succulents, a small lake and two tanks for the cultivation of lacustrine plants. Cavara also restored the temperate greenhouse and started the construction of a new head office for the institute.

The most credit given for work carried out  by  Cavara was without doubt the establishment a new center called “Sezione Sperimentale delle Piante Officinali” in 1928. Here medicinal  plants were both  cultivated and used for experimentation. This organization which had its own funding , worked under the direct control of the Botanical Garden, even though it was not institutionally a part of this organization.

In 1930 the directorship passed on to Biagio Longo who continued the work started by his predecessor. In 1936 the Institute was transferred to the new head office which had finally been completed after 18 years. Previously, in 1933 a head office was created for the offices and laboratory of  “The experimental station for the officinal plants”. The work done by the Garden in this period reached its culmination in 1940 with the extraordinary reunion of the Italian Botanic Society, held in honour of the opening of the “Overseas Exhibition”.

In the following years the war had a negative impact on the function of the Garden and all the iron structures were pulled apart and taken to be used for military purposes. The large scale cultivation of  legume, potatoes  and wheat was introduced and on numerous occasions people invaded the Garden looking for refuge and water. The bombardments devastated the Garden as much as the city but the most havoc was created during the occupation of the allied troupes. The new institute as well as part of the old one was turned into barracks, the lawns were covered with cement or insulated and used for parking military vehicles and a part of the Garden was made into a sports ground. In 1947 not long before his directorship ended, Longo published a report which  testified that the Garden was on its way to total ruin.

This situation was inherited by Giuseppe Catalano who held the directorship from 1948 to 1959. During this period the old and new institutions were partially reconstructed. This was partly due both to the surveyor’s department  and to exceptional funds made available by the direction of the Garden. Iron gates were re-introduced and the greenhouses were restored: in particular the heated greenhouse, where a new part was added equipped with a big tank. The lawns were liberated of their cement covering and made rich with arboreous essences. The small valley where the alpine plants were located was transformed into a “fernery”. During his direction (1959-1963) Valerio Giacomini managed to maintain unchanged the situation inherited from Catalano.

Bauhinia candida


Sterculia hibrida




Asplenium nidus


Chenomeles japonica


Platicerum sp. Fernery


link to Fernery



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