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The fourteenth edition, Oct. 3-6, 2024, at Villa Erba in Cernobbio, Lake Como, is dedicated to plants for phytodepuration, while the main theme is the soil. A tribute to the plant world that repairs the damage caused by humans, a plea to be more aware of the importance of soil.

Hoping is the temporal mode of the garden,
So my praise of the earth is addressed to the earth to come.

Byung-Chul Han

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Cernobbio (CO), March 6, 2024 – In early March, the gears of Orticolario are moving with promptness in anticipation of the fourteenth edition, scheduled from October 3rd to 6th, 2024, at Villa Erba, in Cernobbio, on Lake Como. The title “Terrae” reveals both the theme, the soil, and the protagonist plants, those for phytodepuration. Beyond the thematic and botanical coordinates that change every year and serve as the guiding thread of the edition, this year the event reserves several innovations. Here are all the details.

THE THEME – The title, Orticolario “Terrae,” is evocative. From Latin, “to the soil.” After the total immersion in water, the guiding principle of Orticolario 2023, the 2024 edition aims to be an ode and prayer to the soil, to return to the essence of everything.
And here is the theme, the earth, with a lowercase ‘e,’ which, while nourishing and giving life, is still a great unknown.

The soil is the beginning and the end. It is a mother because it allows the life of plants and animals, including humans. Orticolario 2024 aims to celebrate its importance, reaffirm its priority, and recall the urgency of not taking it for granted, of protecting it, of treating it well. In antiquity, all cultures revered a maternal deity of the soil: for the Greeks, she was called Demeter, for the Romans, Ceres, for the Incas, the Quechua, and other Andean peoples, she was Pachamama. For everyone, she was mother earth, goddess of nature, crops, fertility.

It hosts roots, welcomes a myriad of living organisms, regulates the natural cycle of water, air, organic and mineral substances. The traces left in it are of great help also for studies on climate and landscape.

Orticolario 2024 draws inspiration from all its expressions and becomes a hymn to its cyclicity, its memory, its fertility.

PLANTS FOR PHYTODEPURATION – During the fourteenth edition, we approach plants for phytodepuration: their properties, the modes of “action,” and the infinite possibilities of healing what is polluted by humans.

Some species of plants, over 400 according to the United States Department of Agriculture, are indeed able to retain, degrade, and remove from the soil and water pollutants: organic compounds, hydrocarbons and heavy metals. Sentinels that not only intercept the pollutant but also counteract it: immobilizing it in the roots, degrading it in collaboration with the microorganisms of the rhizosphere (part of the soil that surrounds the roots), absorbing it into the biomass. Among these, there are some very common ones, also used in home gardens. Some examples? Cabbage, turnip, sunflower, corn, ferns, poplars, willows, and hemp. Among water plants: the marshy Canna indica, used for phytodepuration of agricultural wastewater, and Iris, whose rhizome absorbs and accumulates heavy metals.

This is what you experience at Orticolario 2024. To be more aware of how essential the soil is for life and how plants can help restore the natural balance disrupted by humans.

NEWS – Orticolario brings changes. In addition to having revised, last November, the participation modalities with an open call for designers, artists, performers, and exhibitors, it also changed the graphic design of its website,, characterized by simple and intuitive use, tailored to visitors.

WORDS FROM THE PRESIDENT “Here we are at the 14th physical edition, with a strong commitment to an element as fundamental for life as it is little respected and recognized as such,” says Moritz Mantero, president of Orticolario. “We tread on it daily on surfaces that have already violated it, covering and sealing it with every unnatural material. But nature can be stronger, and when it can, it takes it back: its plants, in fact, know how to limit and often erase the damage created by humans. Orticolario wants to contribute to sensitizing its visitors to these aspects, starting as always from children, to whom we must leave a better and healthier world, hoping that they will contribute to safeguarding it, respecting, first of all, its soil.”