Liguria is quite famous for some of its amazing Mediterranean gardens. Renowned names include Giardini Hanbury in Ventimiglia, dating back to 1867 thanks to the vision of English explorer Thomas Hanbury; Giardino Pallanca with more than 3.200 different types of exotic plants in Bordighera; and Villa Nobel, where Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel lived for 6 years. The latter is located in Sanremo, known as the City of Flowers (la Città dei Fiori) for its local cultivations and for the international flower market of Sanremo. There are some lesser known, yet beautiful gardens in the Gulf of Poets too. The best time to visit them is from spring to early fall, with spring offering the most impactful scenery and scents. So, if you love nature and plants, and are looking for a spring break off the beaten path in Liguria, make sure not to miss the following gardens in the Bay of La Spezia!
Environmental Art at Parco La Marrana
Located in Montemarcello, the “Parco d’Arte Ambientale La Marrana” is the result of the collectors’ passion of Grazia and Gianni Bolongaro back in 1997. Their objective was to promote Contemporary Art in the territory, both as a factor of cultural development and to add value to the Regional Nature Park of Montemarcello Magra, within which the artistic gardens are located.
A lush imperial pinewood surrounds the works of art by a variety of artists, most of whom have conceived and created something specifically for La Marrana. In fact, every artist is invited to visit and stay in the Gulf of Poets to better understand the spirit, environment and history of the territory. The result are site-specific works of art that express the sensations that the artist experienced in these lands between Liguria and Tuscany.
The Art Gardens of La Marrana feature 35 permanent works of art by 21 artists, including Joseph Kosuth, Jan Fabre, Kengiro Azuma, Hamish Fulton, Claudia Losi, and Vedovamazzei. There are also occasional temporary sculptures and audio-visual installations.
The gardens are open upon request/reservation, with a guided tour, from April to October for groups of at least 10 people.
Botanical Garden of Montemarcello
The “Orto Botanico di Montemarcello” is located on the Caprione Promontory at 365 meters of altitude. From up here you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Apuan Alps and the mouth of the Magra River. The garden extends throughout 6.000m² inside the Montemarcello Magra Regional Nature Park and was instituted in 1999.
The Montemarcello Botanical Garden is divided in five sections:
- “Gariga” is composed by small bush, herbs and aromatic species;
- “Macchia Mediterranea” has shrub and evergreen lianas;
- “Pinete a Pino d’Aleppo” features Aleppo Pines that have been able to colonize the steepest slopes of cliffs over the sea, alternating with holm oaks, strawberry trees and other evergreen Sclerophyll;
- “Querceto” with mostly Turkey oaks in the cool areas and downy oaks in the hotter areas;
- “Piante della Tradizione Popolare” or plants of the popular tradition like the “fico binello”, a local fig plant that has been used since antiquity.
This Botanical Garden in the Gulf of Poets is only open to visitors upon request/reservation. If you are traveling with children, there is a special sensorial itinerary called “Il cammino dei sensi” conceived just for them.
You can book or ask any questions contacting +39 0187 626 172 or +39 327 127 3871.
History and Nature at Villa Marigola
This period property is only available for special occasions and not for normal tourist visits. However, if you are planning a corporate conference or a wedding between Liguria and Tuscany, then you have to know about the beautiful gardens of Villa Marigola.
The original building dates back to the 1700s, when it was a holiday home to the Ollandini Marquis. Among the famous people that stayed at Villa Marigola was poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who praised its lush gardens in some of his verses. After the second half of the 1800s, the architectural history of the white villa and its garden adapts to the European romantic and decadent culture. Finally, in the 1900s the garden is revisited as a “giardino all’italiana” based on symmetry, axial geometry and topiary.
Spring Break in the Gulf of Poets between Liguria and Tuscany
If you are fantasizing about your next spring break, or even a vacation later in the year in summer and fall, the Gulf of Poets might be just what you are looking for. This is a magical destination that is still little known, yet conveniently located between the famous Cinque Terre and Tuscany. Pristine nature, ancient history, genuine gastronomy and surprising art are only some of the values that you will find here!