Alassio, an Italian Riviera resort town about halfway between Sanremo and Savona, is known for its sandy beaches and scenic position. Villa della Pergola and its beautiful gardens sit above Alassio, overlooking the town and the sea.
During the 19th century, the Italian Riviera became a favorite winter holiday destination of the English community. Daniel Hanbury acquired the villa and its grounds in 1922. He was the son of the owner and designer of the celebrated Hanbury gardens, one of Italy’s top gardens to visit. Drawing on the resources of the family’s own botanical gardens, Daniel developed the grounds and added collections of plants to create beautiful, exotic gardens.
Villa della Pergola gardens are a rare example of English gardens in Italy. Flowers and trees in the botanical garden include palms, citrus, cacti, roses, jasmine, and bougainvillea. The collection of 35 varieties of wisteria is not to be missed in springtime. The gardens are also home to important botanical collections such as that of the agapanthus, with 400 specimens, a unique sight in Europe in terms of both scale and importance.
Visiting Villa della Pergola Gardens, Hotel and Restaurant
The Villa’s grounds are open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from late March to the end of October, only on guided tours lasting about 1 1/2 hours. At the time of writing, tours are given at 9:30, 11:00, 15:00, and 17:00. Check the current times, cost and booking information.
The Villino della Pergola and the Casa del Sole have been transformed into a small, historic hotel. Each of the 15 rooms and suites are different from the other and each is dedicated to characters who have stayed at Villa della Pergola or who have been part of the aristocratic British colony that took up residence at Alassio.
Villa della Pergola also hosts an award-winning restaurant, NOVE di Chef Giorgio Servetto, open for lunch and dinner.
Alassio is near Finale Ligure in the Savona province of Liguria.
Villa della Pergola History
Dating from 1875, Villa della Pergola and its garden were originally the idea of the Scottish General William Montagu Scott McMurdo. In the early 20th century, the villa and grounds passed into the hands of Virginia Woolf’s cousin Sir Walter Hamilton Dalrymple.
Eventually the gardens and the villa were abandoned and became deteriorated. Finally the property went to auction but a group of friends who were eager to restore and protect the landscape, led by Silvia and Antonio Ricci, purchased it to save it from the developers. Landscape architect Paola Pejrone painstakingly restored the gardens and visitors can now enjoy the unique experience of a walk through typical Mediterranean plants that grow side by side with rare exotic flora.
Images, video, and information courtesy of Villa della Pergola, some images were cropped from the original.