Four in ten Italians cultivate flowers and even have their own organic produce garden at home. According to a 35-year study conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden, this ‘green' hobby can extend life at least a year, more for those who do heavy gardening. The results of the study, which explored the gardening habits and its effect on people, will be published in the prestigious British Medical Journal.
The news is good for Italians says the country's agricultural association, Coldiretti, which notes that 37 percent of Italians routinely garden, whether by growing flowers on their city balconies or vegetables in their backyards. Coldiretti has also noted a rise in the number of Italians who chose to grow their own food. Public gardens are booming in cities across the country, and the do-it-yourself garden is an extremely gratifying hobby, which helps relieve stress and save money.
Coldiretti reports that half of Italians over age 65 and one third of Italians between 25 and 34 years of age have recently made a ‘return to the land.' Gardening as a hobby is more common in northern Italy, and particularly in the regions of Veneto, Valle d'Aosta, and Friuli Venezia Giulia, where some 50 percent of residents garden. Only 25 percent of residents in the centre and south of Italy put their green thumb to use.