One of the few examples of Anglo-Mediterranean park preservatosi over time, to Villa della Pergola, from the second half of the nineteenth century at the behest of the General McMurdo and Lady Napier wife who wanted to create a winter and spring residence on the Riviera.
In addition to the current villa that was originally the residence of the Counts of the Lengueglia, the land was mostly “inhabited” by terraced cultivation of citrus trees, carobs and olive trees that served to feed pack animals.
Thanks to the intervention of McMurdo, the park was enriched by numerous ornamental plants, transforming what until then was a farmland in an ornamental garden of all respect. To these first modifications, the McMurdo also added a new building, Villa Pergola, joining the two areas of the park with various wooden bridges that allowed the passage between one another without having to leave the park.
With the passage of the property to Sir Walter Hamilton Dalrymple in 1900, the park was enriched with new ornamental plants and cypress groves were introduced that still can be admired in the gardens of Villa Pergola.
In 1922, the property passed into the hands of one of Sir Thomas Hanbury’s sons, Daniel, who contributed to further enrich the park’s plant collection, including specimens such as the Washington palms, dactilifere, canariensis and azzurre, plus Mexican cicas more a collection of cactacea, agave and aloe.
With the outbreak of war, the park remained closed and under seizure until, in the first postwar period, Daniel’s widow, Ruth, did not take over the management and took care of the restoration of the park especially in areas near the two villas.
Then, in 1982, with the death of Ruth, the property was transferred for a few years in the hands of De Martini family that took care mainly of the restoration of the buildings until 2006, when a consortium of friends led by Silvia and Antonio Ricci bought the property, starting with a careful and enthusiastic restoration under the direction of architect Paolo Pejrone.
The first major intervention was to clean up the park from debris and herbaceous plants left by the past, then proceeding to safety and a gradual restoration, always keeping an eye on the past in order to preserve the glorious beauty and enchanting features that while changing, are still today a symbol of the park.
The wisteria has been introduced, and Agapants were already there, an important collection of agapantus has been created, which boasts over 300 different species.
E ‘was also created a collection of citrus, reintroduced cacti, giant birds of paradise and the great water collection tank has been realized an environment to host the lotuses.
The gardens today
Overlooking the Gulf of Alassio, Riviera di Ponente, the Gardens of Villa della Pergola, host a truly unique and incredible collection: in addition to the more than 400 varieties of agapanto that bloom in June and July, there are also 32 varieties of wisteria that appear with their colors and perfumes between March and April.
The park follows the natural course of the hill on several levels, joined by the characteristic pergolas that give the name to the Villa and on which the wisteria bloom in March and April.
In June and July of Pergola Villa gardens are colored in different shades of blue, light blue and white thanks to the Agapanthus blooms, whose flowers are arranged to form ordered rich shades of color similar to the waves of the sea; a unique collection in Europe for vastness and importance. In July, the park also blossomed Lotus flowers, aquatic plants cultivated in the tanks recovered from the old tanks for rainwater harvesting, restored in 2006 and restructured as the entire water network of the garden. The summer months are the ideal time for strolling in the colors of Mediterranean scrub and tropical vegetation. During this time the solanum, the bignons, the water lilies and the blue plumbago blossom, and reach their maximum splendor of plants and trees typical of the Mediterranean, like the olive trees in the park.
The Gardens of Villa della Pergola also have a collection of citrus flowers in bloom at the end of summer and early autumn.
Pictures of the Gardens
The Villa della Pergola
Villa della Pergola and Villino, restored to a conservative restoration by the architect Ettore Mocchetti, they reminiscently reflect the setting of British Victorian residences, bringing to life, through carefully crafted furnishings and a refined collection of watercolors and Victorian and Edwardian paintings, and the atmospheres of the epoch fin de siécle.
Secluded in the corner of the lush garden, the Casa del Sole owes its name to the particular position that makes it constantly flooded with natural light. The House of the Sun was a favorite place for the classic “tea of the five” and the Dalrymple and then Hanbury’s leisure moments.
The relais, consisting of Villa della Pergola with the Villino and the Casa del Sole, is open until the end of October: you can stay hosted and housed in the twelve suites that are different from each other and each one is dedicated to the many characters who in the past have stayed in Villa della Pergola or have been part of the English colony of Alassio.
Villa della Pergola has recently joined Small Luxury Hotels of The World, the international affiliate brand that gathers around some of the most luxurious little hotels and resorts in the world.
The Restaurant of Villa della Pergola
Il Restaurant Nove, open all year round and directed by chef Giorgio Servetto, puts first place in seasonality and local products, making extensive use of citrus fruit, herbs and edible flowers in the park.
The NOVE restaurant and chef Giorgio Servetto received two hats in the Espresso Guide 2017 and two forks with a 80/100 vote in the Gambero Rosso Guide 2017 and the Authentic Cooking Certificate of the Italian Touring Club.
More info: www.noveristorante.it
Where , how, when
Giardini di Villa della Pergola
17021 Alassio (Sv)
Gardens of Villa della Pergola are open from March to November and with its 22,000 sq. M the park is to be discovered all weekends (from late March to early November) with sightseeing tours starting at 9.30-11.30-15.00 -17.00. During the week you can book visits only for groups.
Single: 12 euro, FAI members: 10 euro, Boys 6 to 14 years: 6 euro
Free for children up to 6 years old accompanied by an adult.
School groups (park visit): 6 euro.