Garden of Villa Mariani, Bordighera
Price : 10€/person
*excluding park entrance ticket
Classification: route of naturalistic interest
Behind the historic center of Bordighera, a favorite place of Italian and foreign artists, stands Villa Mariani, with its park and painter’s Atelier. The park is a surviving patch of the great “Giardino Moreno,” a rustic garden of more than 80 hectares, composed of olive, orange, lemon, tangerine, palm trees and exotic plants; the largest garden in the far west of Liguria and the nearby French Riviera, within which Claude Monet executed some of his most important masterpieces in 1884.
Moreno gardens, already in Monet’s time were known to amateurs all over Europe, and included in the most prestigious guidebooks. Such as, for example, “Les Motifs artistiques de Bordighera et la Liguria occidentale” by Charles Garnier.
“I have settled down in a fairy-tale country. I don’t know which way to turn anymore, everything is superb and I would like to do everything; so, I use and waste a lot of colors, because I have to try things out. This country is a whole new study for me, and I am only now beginning to orient myself and figure out which way to go and what is possible to accomplish. It is terribly difficult, it would take a palette of diamonds and precious stones. As for blue and red, here there is some.
Finally, I work hard, I will take with me palm trees, olive trees (olive trees are wonderful) and, from here, my blues.”- Bordighera, February 2nd, 1884, letter from Claude Monet to Duret.
“One should regret to have begun other studies; a garden like that is indescribable, it is pure magic, all the plants of the world grow there in the earth and without seeming to care; it is a tangle of palm trees, of every species of orange and tangerine trees…” – Bordighera, February 5th, 1884, letter from Claude Monet to Alice Hoschedé.
“Surrounded by this dazzling light, I find my palette well modest; Art would like tons of gold and diamonds.” – Bordighera , March 25th, 1884, letter from Claude Monet to unknown recipient.
The park has preserved the 19th-century style of the English garden over time, and it is easy to discover some magical corners that Claude Monet immortalized in 1884. In his paintings we find century-old specimens accompanied by spontaneous garden blooms. The painter was fascinated by the location and light of the park, with wide views, which still offers the possibility of admiring the sunrise and its sunset, which only there begins its course emerging from the sea and ends the day always disappearing into the sea. Bordighera is known to offer at the time of sunset a unique spectacle that has long been known in many parts of the world.
Pompeo Mariani, the painter from Lombardy (Monza 1857 – Bordighera 1927), who was one of the leading figures in the artistic life of Bordighera between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in 1908, bought this elegant villa among olive trees, attributed to Charles Garnier.
Today, after a major restoration and rearrangement, the park, the Atelier and all its original furnishings and working tools, is open to the public. The Garden of Villa Pompeo Marian was included in the top 15 most beautiful gardens to visit in Liguria by Lonely Planet, in the edition of the guide dedicated to this region.
Sources: Claude Monet, Words and Colors, Letters from Bordighera ( January – April1884) https://www.museionline.info