Mappa di arch.Luigi Canonica
immagine del 1901
Monza Park

Mathematical Orchard

This is a collection of ancient or rare fruit trees planted in 2014 according to the geometrical project that was planned by the architect Luigi Canonica in 1803.

In 2014 in front of Cascina Frutteto the rebuilding of “Frutteto Matematico” (“Mathematical orchard”) started, according to Canonica’s 1803 project. The plan included a big diamond made of four main avenues, a central circular area, 16 radially-arranged avenues, two concentric boulevards and some other smaller avenues. The building interested only the southern half of the nineteenth-century project. The name “mathematical” is probably due to the wide use of the golden section as a tool to create harmonious proportions between the drawing’s elements. The rebuilding included the planting of about 600 new fruit trees, some of common, others of unusual, ancient or rare species.

In 2014, in the area in front of Cascina Frutteto (which is now the headquarter of the Agricultural School of Monza Park), the rebuilding of the orchard began according to the blueprint made by the architect Luigi Canonica around 1803.

Canonica’s project included four avenues that created a big diamond; in the middle there was a circular area, from which 16 radially-arranged and two concentric circular boulevards avenues originated; lastly, three lateral smaller avenues connected the northern, the eastern and the southern side of the diamond. It must be highlighted that the current rebuilding project interests only a half of the original structure, the southern part of the diamond.

Actually, an historic document that proves with certainty that an orchard exactly following Canonica’s project has never been built does not exist; it is more likely that, according to the historic cartography of the nineteenth century, a similar structure has been built, with some variations in avenues’ number and length. More recent documents prove, however, that the plots in front of Cascina Frutteto have been planted in the twentieth century. For example, in a 1901 postcard, trees planted in the field near the avenue that gives access to the farmhouse can be clearly seen; from the picture it is not clear which is the disposition of the trees, neither which species they belong to, but, judging their dimensions and shape, they should be fruit trees.

There is not even some certain historic documentation about the reason why the orchard is called “mathematical”. However, the study of the geometrical relations between the elements of Canonica’s project proved that they are largely based on the golden section, which consists in a mathematical proportion that is well-known since ancient times for its ability in giving harmony to the pattern.  

The project created included the planting of about 600 fruit trees of different species, some of them common (apple, pear, apricot, plum, cherry, peach, almond, fig, persimmon trees..), others unusual (“biricoccoli”, whose fruit is a mixture between plum and apricot, sorb, azarole, mulberry, jujube, pawpaw trees..). These trees offer wonderful flowering and coloured fruit during the four seasons of the year and give the opportunity to use this area of the park for educational aims.