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Itineraries 1


1. Madonna della Ruota (map)

Immediately after the Casa del Mattone, at number 28, an elegant golden gate in forged iron closes the access to a private road, which goes to a villa situated in a wonderful park near the sea. Lodovico Winter created here his famous garden, which is reproduced in many postcards of that time: this image helped Bordighera to spread its fame all over Europe. "A show-garden of high society" said Viacava: "it was Winter's house, the garden of his dreams, the breeding-ground of his most beautiful palms and the symbol of his commercial activities". In Winter's garden, next to the beach, there were the famous palms, caressed by the sea and noted by the German poet Joseph Viktor von Scheffel in 1856. Afterwards, there is the little church called the Madonna della Ruota, where the stage-coach from Genoa to Nice used to stop to change horses. This Medieval church is usually closed. It opens for the holidays of the 25th March and the 5th of August. Then, a steep road (via Madonna della Ruota, 34) descends to the touristic village of Baia della Ruota, on the border with Winter's garden. Here, between olive-trees and eucalypts, agaves and cactus, pines and bananas, you can feel the atmosphere of the ancient garden.

2. The Pallanca Exotic Garden (map)

Immediately after the tunnel of Cape Migliarese and vertically overlooking the sea, there is a rocky steep slope, a terraced land filled with wonderful plants. It is the Pallanca Exotic Garden, a spectacular, naturalistic monument created by the descendants of Bartolomeo Pallanca, who was the young collaborator of Lodovico Winter. There are 3,200 species of plants and there is the most important collection of cacti and succulents in Italy, in fact, one of the most important in Europe too. The oldest plant is the 300 years old "Copiapoa" (which usually grows in the Andes in Chile). The Pallanca Exotic Garden can be considered the heir of the Moreno Garden.

Cape Migliarese,immediately after the tunnel, Via Madonna della Ruota 1 Winter:9.00-17.00; Summer:9.00-12.30,14.30-19.00 Closed on Monday morning. e-mail: pallanca@masterweb.it

3. The Carmel small Church (map)

The Madonna of the Carmel's Chapel of Bordighera was built in1790 (circa), thanks to Giacomo Maria Giribaldi (1763-1850), Mayor of the city. Interested in the expectations of the inhabitants of the "new" city ("Borgo Marina"), he wanted to use a part of his ancestors' property (that of Piazza Mazzini) for the construction of a little church, which could be used by his fellow-citizens for celebrating religious services, instead of going to the more distant church in the Old Town. The small church was dedicated to the Madonna of the Carmel and it was recognized by the Clerical Authorities.

The main facade, oriented towards Piazza Mazzini, has an important floral stucco frieze, which borders a symbol of Mary and which is over hanged by a rose-window decorated with polychromatic glass. Above the rose-window there is a plaster slab with the words "DECOR CARMELI"; on the upper part a frieze shows the ancient architectonic structure of the front, with two small windows and a central small bell cella, surmounted by a cross. The lower part of the front still has the original wooden portal with two shutters.

Inside, even though the vault was replaced by a plain ceiling, there is a well proportioned and close space, enhanced by decorations, stucco and valuable paintings. The original slate floor is set with tombstones in memory of the ancestors of the Garibaldi family. Above the altar, a large niche contains the statue of the Madonna of the Carmel with the Baby; at the two sides there are two original plaster statues of Saint Joseph and Saint Erasmus. On the lateral walls of the presbytery, there are two oil-colour paintings of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Frances. On the walls of the hall, there are smaller paintings. On the 5th October 1996 the Ministry of the Cultural and Ambient Goods issued an edict according to which the Carmel Church "is a monument of particular importance and so it is protected by the Law 1.6.1939 n.1089". (From the historical-artistic report of the Ministry of the Cultural and Ambient Goods.)

To visit the Carmel small Church, please contact the owners at the number 0184 26.18.87

4. The Two Towers: The Sapergo (map), The Mostaccini (map)

Going along Via dei Colli, you arrive at the motorway exit. Two sixteenth-century towers overlook the city. "From here" - tells Linda White Villari - "it was possible to watch over the suspicious boats." They were the frightful ships of the Turkish pirates, which were seen by the look-outs and then signalled to the nearby villages. The first tower stands in front of the village Sasso, in a zone called Sapergo; the second one, called the Mostaccini Tower, is far from there and stands inside a private park. In modern times an elegant villa, in Renaissance style, was built near the tower, which forms part of the skyline of Bordighera. The Counts Frezzini of Lorzano owned it. Claude Monet climbed here to paint one of his most popular landscapes of Bordighera: the old town framed by olive-trees, kept in the Art Institute of Chicago.

5. The Beodo Path (map)

"It is one of the most exciting walks in Bordighera, which no artist could forget", exclaimed Charles Garnier: "it is a continuous succession of places in which shape and elegance harmonize." It is the walk along the way of the old aqueduct which brought the water for drinking and irrigation to the city. It fed a cistern (now covered) built in the middle of Piazza Padre Giacomo Viale. The water cystern gave water to houses, fountains, oil-mills, public wash-houses, gardens and kitchen-gardens. The path starts immediately after the Old Town (through the Via dei Colli), goes through a tunnel, ascends the Valley of the river Sasso along an old mule-track, then it proceeds along the dry-stone walls, punctuated with mimosas and brooms, olive-trees, cacti and palms. It dominates the coast, and then turns in the direction of the small inland hamlet of Sasso.

6. The Argentina Promenade (map)

It is a two kilometres rectilinear road between the railway and the beach, flanked with wonderful “Araucaria excelsa" and colourful gardens with cacti and flowers. The splendid Argentina Promenade was so called because it was inaugurated by Evita Perón, wife of the Argentinean President, who spent a whole day in Bordighera in 1947; his presence was seen as the symbol of the touristic re-birth of the city during the post-war period. The Argentina Promenade is the longest pedestrian promenade of the Riviera. From here, you can admire the "superlative panorama" described by Edward ande Margaret Berry. The eye goes along the coast till the rock of La Turbie, the sky-scrapers of Monte Carlo, the rock of Cap Ferrat and so on. The Music Kiosk on the promenade performed three concerts a week.

7. Pompeo Mariani's Villa (map)

From the Old Town through the beautiful and panoramic Via dei Colli, you climb up to the top of a hill facing the motorway exit. After the first curves, opposite Via Fontana Vecchia, a gate opened on a wonderful olive-grove leads to Pompeo Mariani's Villa. Between the 9th and 10th century, this Lombard painter (Monza 1857 - Bordighera 1927) was one of the protagonists of the artistic life of Bordighera. Here, in 1908, he bought this elegant villa, probably built among the olive-trees by Charles Garnier. In 1911, Mariani commissioned the architect Rodolfo Winter (son of the gardener Lodovico Winter) to construct an "atelier" among the trees, calling it "The Observatory". Many friends and admirers came here to visit him, Queen Margareth too. Mariani, a good impressionist painter, worked intensely between the Riviera and the Principality of Monaco, realizing numerous landscapes and sketches of fashionable life. The Observatory, now restored, is the centre of the Pompeo Mariani foundation. (picture: Pompeo Mariani's Villa and the "Dwarf painter"click on the picture)

8. The "Osteria del Mattone" Place: Madonna della Ruota (map)

The road in the rock, where agaves and aloes grow, goes on to Ospedaletti. at number 22 there is the "Casa del Mattone", today a private house in pink, surrounded by a beautiful garden with very rich vegetation. This was the legendary “Osteria del Mattone", where the Doctor Antonio took Miss Lucy after the accident. "A small house on the main road, so called" - wrote John Ruffini in the romance - "probably for its reddish colour or because it was built on the ancient place of a furnace of bricks". "All the first English tourists - said Edmondo de Amicis, "looked for the restored "Osteria del Mattone", where the sweet Miss Lucy with the broken leg was taken".