A Sea Of Gardens

  • 4 June 2021 4:55 pm


Un Mare di Giardini (A Sea of Gardens)

26 gardens which can be visited
13 government-owned gardens (Town Halls, Provinces, Regions, State)
13 privately-owned gardens (private individuals, Foundations, Banks, religious organizations)
14 gardens in the Genoa province
1 garden in the Savona province
8 gardens in the Imperia province
3 gardens in the La Spezia province
2 parks of contemporary and environmental art


Genoa province
Villa Brignole Sale, Duchess of Galliera (19th century)
Genoa Voltri

Maria Brignole Sale, duchess of Galliera led the Villa and the park of Voltri to its maximum magnificence in the 19th century. To the present day, it is possible to admire the large glades, shadowy small woods, precious botanic collections, artistic small buildings and some surviving cultivation of olive, medlar and fig trees.

Villa Durazzo Pallavicini (18th-19th century)
Genoa Pegli

Designed in the mid-19th century by Michele Canzio, stage designer at Genoa’s Carlo Felice theatre, the park has maintained its suggestive circuit untouched. A circuit that combines architecture, theatre and nature. Inside the park, a botanic garden funded at the end of the 18th century which was well-known at the time throughout Europe.

The Parks of Nervi (17th-21st century)
Genoa Nervi

Made up by the gardens of Villa Serra, Grimaldi, Groppallo, Luxoro, this park is the largest green area in Genoa. It is used as a main museum and recreational centre. Inside, there are more than one hundred botanic species of Mediterranean flora, five monumental trees and an important rose-garden.

Villa Groppallo dello Zerbino (16th century)
An extraordinary villa built in the second half of the 16th century, completely surrounded by the greenery of a large park, is situated in a panoramic position in the central area of Manin. Many important artists such as Piola, De Ferrari and Andrea Tagliafichi have worked on its decorations. Andrea Tagliafichi also designed the plan of the garden with tanks, fountains and statues.

Villa Delle Peschiere (16th century)

Situated in a panoramic position in the city of Genoa, the villa was designed in the 16th century by Alessi for the noble Pallavicino family with a garden with many terraces, spectacular ornaments and perspective effects.

Today, it is still possible to admire the Serliana porch, the artificial cave, two nymphaeums and the Tritone fountain.

Palazzo del Principe (16th – 19th century)
Luxurious residence commissioned by Andrea Doria in the 16th century. It includes one of the most important monumental gardens in Liguria. Recently restored, it preserves the design of the flowerbeds, the sculptural decorations and the famous statue of the Neptune carved by Taddeo Carlone at the end of the 16th century.

Villa Brignole Sale (16th – 19th century)
Owned by the noble Sale family in the 16th century, the villa has a park which was reorganized in the 18th century but which preserves the main elements of the historical Italian style garden: the monumental avenue, a parterre, a lemon house, a fish pond and rock caves.

Villa Serra (19th-20th century)
Sant’Olcese (Genoa)
Tudor style original villa with a vast English style park situated at the heart of the Genoese inland. It has recently been fully restored. The park includes the largest public collection of hydrangea with over 1,300 samples and 200 varieties.

Pratorondanino Garden (20th century)
Pratorondanino Area – Campo Ligure (Genoa)
Defined as the "Museo del Verde" (Museum of the green), it is an important mountain botanic garden recently established which includes mountain flora from at least three different habitats as well as rare plants or species close to extinction.

Villa Negrotto Cambiaso (19th- 20th century)
Arenzano (Genoa)
Designed by the famous architect Luigi Rovelli, the garden has excellent architectural and botanic features.

The 1930s English style greenhouse is famous for its monumental features.

Villa Rocca (20th century)
Chiavari (Genoa)
Realized by the Genoese Polinice Caccia in 1908 for the rich Rocca family, the park still preserves many of the rare and precious plants brought by the family from South America. The Italian style garden and the "Bananiera", a particular greenhouse used for the recovery of banana trees, are significant elements.

Villa Durazzo (16th – 19th century)
Santa Margherita Ligure (Genoa)
A 19th century romantic park with Mediterranean and exotic plants and a gracious formal garden recently rediscovered and promoted. Great attention to be paid to the terrace which displays decorations and arabesques in white and black stones and the great collection of palm trees and cycas.

Museum of the Park – International open air sculpture centre (20th-21st century)
Portofino (Genoa)
Sculptures by Beuys, Rotella, Pomodoro, Fontana, Spoerri, Thun and many others fill the park surrounded by ferns, oleanders, monumental camellias. It is a fascinating park created at the beginning of the 1900s situated perpendicularly to the gulf of Portofino.

Cervara – Abbey of San Girolamo al Monte di Portofino (14th – 20th century)
Santa Margherita Ligure (Genoa)
Created as a garden of a Benedictine Abbey, it houses one of the rare monumental gardens in Liguria with pergolas and terraces built perpendicularly to the sea of Portofino. Among the botanic rarities, a secular pepper tree and a purple wisteria several centuries old.

Savona province

Villa Faraggiana (18th – 19th century)
Albissola Marina (Savona)
The magnificence of an elegant and vast 18th century garden with winding flowerbeds, evergreen hedges and ancient statues are all essential elements of a luxurious noble villa.

Imperia province

Exotic Pallanca Garden (20th century)
Bordighera (Imperia)
It is an incredible botanic site with over 3 thousand Cactaceae and Succulents, some of which hundred years old, spread over terraces overlooking the sea. It was designed and realized at the beginning of the 20th century by the Pallanca family, who is still today a famous producer of succulent plants in the world.

Villa Garnier (19th century)
Bordighera (Imperia)
With its clear aspect dominating the blue sea of Bordighera, the eclectic villa of Charles Garnier, author of the Paris Opera, includes a panoramic garden designed by Ludwing Winter with rare Mediterranean and exotic plants and a unique collection of palm trees.

Villa Mariani (19th century)
Bordighera (Imperia)
A noble 19th century villa built by Charles Garnier. It is a famous villa thanks to the great painter of the 19th century, Pompeo Mariani, who has elected the villa as his main residence, and to Claude Monet who reproduced its garden in painting many different times. Monet was taken by the beauty of the plants and the garden’s attractive landscape.

Villa Grock (20th century)
The extravagant park conceived and commissioned around 1920 by the famous Swiss clown Grock has recently been restored. It combines bizarre and dreamlike buildings to exotic lush and Mediterranean nature.

Villa Nobel (19th century)
Sanremo (Imperia)
The garden of this villa combines the charm of a Mediterranean garden, including rare plants and bizarre architecture, with the myth of its creator, the scientist Alfred Nobel.

Villa Orengo Sella (17th –19th century)
Latte (Imperia)
Large property dominated by a late medieval style tower, it is the centre of an old farming system among olive groves and vineyards, which in the late 19th century was transformed into an interesting park rich in exotic species.

Villa Boccanegra Piacenza (19th –21st century)
Ventimiglia (Imperia)
A Mediterranean acclimatization garden overlooking the sea, it is the important result of generations of passionate botany experts: from the Biancheri to the Piacenza families, this last one being the current owners who still carry on with botanic experimentation.

Villa Hanbury (19th century)
La Mortola – Ventimiglia (Imperia)
One of the most beautiful and well-known botanic acclimatization gardens in the world, it is situated along the breathtaking coast. The Hanbury brothers, Thomas and Daniel and the great landscape painter Ludwig Winter have created this wonderful garden.

La Spezia province

Villa Marigola (18th –20th century)
San Terenzo – Lerici (La Spezia)
Italian style garden realized in 1926, it offers a beautiful sight of the gulf of Lerici. The park and the villa treasure memories of many old times, from the 18th century to Romanticism and the Liberty style, as well as memories of owners and important guests such as the English poet Shelley.

Botanic Garden of Montemarcello (19th-21st century)
Sarzana (La Spezia)
Recently established and among the most appreciated gardens in Italy, the Botanic Garden of Mediterranean flora presents rare species, some of which close to extinction. It is divided into five areas dedicated to aromatic plants, Mediterranean vegetation, Aleppo pines, oak groves and plants belonging to the people’s tradition.

La Marrana (20th –21st century)
Montemarcello (La Spezia)
Park of environmental art conceived by Gianni e Grazia Bolongaro and created within their property being part of the Natural Park of Montemarcello Magra. An open-air museum where sculptures and installations of contemporary artists from all over the world can be admired.

• Below, we present three gardens which represent other examples of the historical, botanic and
artistic variety of the “Un Mare di Giardini” circuit:

– historical garden: Garden of Palazzo del Principe
– contemporary garden: Museum of the Park of Portofino
– botanic garden: Pallanca Exotic Garden

Garden of Palazzo del Principe
Piazza del Principe 4
16124 Genova
Tel. +39 010/255509
Fax +39 010/2464837
[email protected]

Opening times:
The garden is part of the “Palazzo del Principe” museum circuit and is open every day (except Mondays) from 10 am to 5 pm, (the garden is closed on 1st January, Easter Sunday, 1st May, 15th August, 25th December).

Entry fee:
Ticket to the museum (including visit to the garden): Euro 7.00 – adults, Euro 5.50 – groups, students and Senior (over 60s). An audio guide is available which is included in the price of the ticket.

From a historical and artistic point of view, the Palazzo del Principe is the most important 16th century monumental and decorative Genoese site of this kind. This structure, with its own particular features, marks the beginning of the Genoese Renaissance.

The Palace was the residence of Andrea Doria, Admiral of Emperor Carlo V and prominent figure in European politics in the first half of the 16th century. He commissioned the building and its garden between 1521 and 1540.

Lord of the city even in the republican organization of Genoa, Doria wanted to erect a building with imposing dimensions and rich decorations to symbolise the power he achieved. This is why his residence was the only "royal palace" of the century-long era of the Republic of Genoa.
In addition to the very well-known set of frescoes by Perin del Vaga and the extraordinary collection of tapestries, the Palace was famous for its external areas and in particular for the south facing garden. The garden was initiated around 1530 and was then completed in the first years of the 18th century by the successor of Andrea Doria, Giovanni Andrea I.

The garden was organized around regular flowerbeds featuring many fountains made of marble, which have been preserved up to the present day. The "Fontana del Nettuno" (The Neptune Fountain) is the most imposing of all, carved by Taddeo Carlone in 1599. Over the course of the 19th century, the garden underwent a transformation turning more into an English style romantic garden. Damaged in 1944 by wartime events, the central part of the garden has recently been restored recovering its 16th century plan following accurate archaeological investigation and archive research. The choice of the plants to be used, partially based on the historical descriptions of the garden, has followed the principle of using only those species and varieties commonly known and used in Italy between the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century (amongst which, the first botanic tulips). Palazzo del Principe that through the centuries became property of the successors of the Doria Pamphili family was opened to the public in 1995.

Museum of the Park – International
Open Air Sculpture Centre. Castello
San Giorgio Portofino
Molo Umberto I 16034
Portofino tel. +39 337/333737
[email protected]

Opening times
From June to September. Closed on Tuesday. Guided tours available on request.

The Museum of the Park, built on different levels, is situated perpendicularly to the sea of Portofino, one of the most famous ports in the world.

Located in the garden wanted and built by Baron Mumm at the beginning of the 20th century, it was initially part of the castle towering above it.

Baron Mumm brought back to the garden a significant collection of ferns from its multiple journeys around the world and rare plants of butterbush from Japan. Over the course of the years, the garden – result of accurate intervention – became famous
thanks to the presence of a large number of camellias botanically considered as the most interesting of the whole peninsula due to
their size due to the microclimate of the location. The number and the blossoming of oleanders were also quite significant.
Since the last twenty years, the Park is the location for the main Italian museum for open air monumental sculptures.

The collection of works by the significant international artists has been created by Daniele Crippa and today it lists hundred and
twenty sculptures all differing in material and dimensions. The statues in bronze, marble, glass and steel have often been
deliberately created by the artist so that they combine and blend with the magic of the place.

The garden displays works by Beuys, Rotella, Pomodoro, Fontana, Cucchi, Arman, Spagnulo, Atchugarry, Conti, Guttuso,
De Camargo, Iommi, Hirsch, Poirier, Vautier, Spoerri, Thun and many others.

The area open to the public over the summer period is used as a location for cultural meetings and events.

The Museum keeps buying artistic works and every two years it publishes a complete and substantial catalogue. Since 2004 the
Museum has co-operated with the Fundacion Argentina – Museo Parque (Argentine Foundation- Park Museum) to help together
with the Genoese sector of Unicef the future of young people of Argentina by training courses.

The first information regarding the castle overlooking this area date back to a period of time between 1900 and 1910.

Pallanca Exotic Garden

Via Madonna della Ruota n°1
Bordighera (IM)
Giardino Esotico+39 0184/ 266347
Fax +39 0184/261638
Email: [email protected]
Opening times:
Winter times:
Summer times: 9.00 am/12.30 pm – 3.00pm/7.30 pm. Closed on Monday.

There are no guided tours. The garden is divided into numbered areas and an explanatory guide is handed at the entrance.

Entry fee: Euro 6.00 adults – Euro 5.00 groups (min. 10 people) and concessions.

Events: Temporary exhibitions organized on request.

The history of Bordighera is strongly linked to the character of Ludwing Winter, a landscape painter, botanist and agronomist who contributed to the realization of many gardens, parks and avenues of the Ligurian coastline and the neighbouring French Côte d’Azur.
Giacomo Pallanca stayed at his side for many years leaving the traditional olive cultivation at the farm in Airole. Pallanca’s son, Bartolomeo decided to invest in a sector which was still fairly unknown at the time. He passionately devoted his attention to the cultivation of exotic and tropical plants that he had learnt about during his apprenticeship. In 1910, he funded the Horticultural and Floral B. Pallanca company.

Over the period preceding the war, the activity of the firm was mainly focused on trading and cultivating ornamental plants and freshly cut flowers. In the aftermath of the war, Bartolomeo worked hard to reorganize the company by adding the cultivation of the Cactaceae to the green cultivation. The Pallanca family who still today cultivate these species coming from all over the world, boasts an international experience having contributed to the realization of Europe’s major botanic gardens, from the exotic section of the Montjuich Park to the ardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano, Italy. These preliminary remarks are undoubtedly necessary for the visitor to the garden to appreciate its history and unique features.

The collection of Cactaceae and Succulents inside the garden will leave the visitor amazed in front of such a rare display of plants.
There are over 3,000 varieties and about 30,000 species all gathered within the 10,000 square meters area. Thanks to the location and care with which the plants are arranged, they offer a display truly unique in its genre.

The collection is arranged over different terraces at different levels, all offering an extraordinary sight overlooking the sea.