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Ligurian gardens

The tale of an Englishman's passion for plants... and Liguria

Ligurian gardens

Once upon a time, there was an Englishman who fell helplessly and head-over-heels in love with a little piece of Liguria. It might sound like a fairytale but it's actually the start of the real-life story of the cloth merchant Sir Thomas Hanbury who, in 1866, on his return from China, set about searching for a special place in which to realize his life-long dream of creating a beautiful botanical garden.

Whilst sailing along the Franco/Italian Riviera, he dropped anchor opposite the Mortola promontory close to Ventimiglia, and for Hanbury it was love at first sight

Here, just a few kilometers from the French border, he purchased the Orengo Palace and, assisted by his brother Daniel, a famous botanist and pharmacologist, and the eminent landscape artist, Ludwig Winter, he transformed its 18 hectares of olive groves and vineyards in botanical paradise, in which he planted some 5800 ornamental species.

Hanbury's dream has grown into one of Italy's most beautiful gardens

Sir Hanbury's passion, together with the mild climate of Liguria, created botanical gardens which are now one of Italy's most important tourist attractions. The estate, declared a regional protected area in the year 2000, is now managed by the University of Genoa. In addition to the fabulous collections of eucalyptus, bamboo and citrus fruits; the fragrances garden, exotic orchard and Italian gardens are all more than worthy of visit.

Mediterranean scrub, a Moorish Mausoleum and a happy ending

Traversed by an intricate network of pathways and causeways, the gardens offer a charming mixture of indigenous Mediterranean scrub and exotic plants of various origin, amidst which to find fanciful ornamental features such as a fountain with bronze dragon from Kyoto, and the Moorish Mausoleum, the tiny temple in which the ashes of Sir Thomas Hanbury and his wife are conserved.

Put it in your diary...(or on your smartphone)

Opening hours:
from March 1st to June 15th and from September 16th to October 15th
entrance from 09.30 to 17.00hrs. Garden closes at 18.00hrs
Summer: from June 16th to September 15th
entrance from 09.30 to 18.00hrs (garden closes at 19.00hrs)
Winter: from October 16th to February 28th
entrance from 09.30 to 16.00hrs (garden closes 17.00hrs)

Giardini Botanici Hanbury
Corso Montecarlo, 43
18039 La Mortola - Ventimiglia (Imperia)
Tel.: +39 0184 229507