GARDENS of COTE D'AZUR and TUSCANY
September 16 – 26th, 2006
 

September 21st we were off early because we were headed to Florence. As it was a bit of a long day we broke it up with visit to Hanbury Botanic Gardens, just on the other side of the Italian border. The gardens were created by Sir Thomas Hanbury, who when holidaying on the Cote D’Azur, was struck by the beauty of Cape Mortola and he began buying up the land in the area which eventually amounted to 18 hectares. In 1867, on purchasing this property, that English gentleman, with the help of his brother Daniel, a distinguished pharmacologist, began to rule the destiny of what would become of the world’s most important botanic gardens. Daniel died in 1875; Thomas followed him in 1907 leaving his son Cecil as his heir. Cecil’s wife, Lady Dorothy, carried on after World War I. During World War II the garden became subject to cannonade attacks, passing troops and vandalism. In 1960 she sold the garden to the Italian State and it was run by the International Institute of Ligurian Studies. They could not keep up and it was then entrusted to the Genoa University where it remains to this day. The gardens are quite unique in as much as the plants have dictated where they want to live. The entire ensemble is kept in a natural environment that encourages the complete biological cycle. The botanical gardens were created with the help of different expert botanists and pharmacologists, with an early emphasis on pharmaceutical plants. It includes the Japanese Garden, the Australian Forest, succulent plants, the Garden of Perfumes, and the collection of Roses. As seasons change, the gardens display a range of colors and forms such as only nature can offer. The site is dramatic, the plant collection exotic and the variety of paths, pools, fountains and garden structures are simply delightful.

We boarded our coach to enjoy a nice bagged lunch as we made our way through the many tunnels (around 200) to Florence. Along the way you will also see homes on the hills, greenhouses in the valley and the beautiful azure blue of the water. We arrived at our hotel, enjoyed dinner together and off to sleep Our hotel was up in the hills, outside the city of Florence and offered an incredible view of the city.
 


 

 

 

 

 


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