The Hanbury Gardens, granted in perpetuity to the University of Genoa who taked care of their reconstruction, are situated at La Mortola on the border of Ventimiglia. The gardens are characterized by herbaceous, shrubby and arboreous plants which come from tropical and subtropical parts all over the world, and massed together at La Mortola which offers exceptional environment conditions congenial to acclimatization.
For these very reasons the gardens are widely-known by botanists and lovers of nature. They lie on a small promontory of the Riviera dei Fiori (The Riviera of Flowers) between Via Aurelia (an old Roman road) and the sea, visited by thousands of tourists every year. The gardens cover an area of approximately 18 hectares cultivated in part by exotic plants and in part by Mediterranean vegetation.
A group of academics and those with particular feelings for the natural beauties of nature from different nations have founded an association called the ‘Amici dei Giardini Botanici Hanbury’ (Friends of the Hanbury Botanic Gardens): its aim is to help the garden in everyway it can after the heavy losses it suffered during the first and second world wars and also by lack of funds.
The ‘Amici’, besides the University of Genoa, wish to co-operate with any institution or organization wishing to bring back the Gardens to their former splendour and for scientific development, the protection of natural, exotic botanical heritage, and the joy of tourists who love this precious and natural reality. The ‘Amici’ have been encouraged in this initiative by both Italian authorities and Kew Gardens with the support and contribution of Italia Nostra, WWF (Italy), the Royal Horticultural Society and the International Dendrology Society. The‘Amici’ are collecting new plants to replace those perished and give vitality to others in order to enrich this great botanical heritage created by the Hanbury family. We are ready to promote any initiatives which unfortunately have been in serious difficulty for so long. Anyone who loves nature (gardens and flowers) can help the Hanbury Gardens cause by becoming a member of the Association by filling in the attached form. Protectionist and botanical institutions are invited throughout the world to join the ‘Amici’ because ‘La Mortola’ is reviving and will return to its rich splendour of the past and at the same time will benefit from the advanced knowledge of modern technology.
The Hanbury Botanic Gardens of La Mortola were founded in 1867 by Sir Thomas Hanbury, assisted by his brother Daniel who created his garden of exotic plants which carne from all parts of the world. Until his death in 1907 Sir Thomas helped the inhabitants in every possible way from La Mortola to Ventimiglia and even as far as Alassio and gave his name to the Istituto Botanico of the University of Genova. His great interest in the botanical world encouraged him to donate some land near London where the famous Wisley Garden was founded of the Royal Horticultural Society. When Thomas died, his work was carried on by his son and lady Dorothy who were both garden enthusiasts The Hanbury Botanic Gardens were sold to the Italian State in 1960, which are at present being managed by the University of Genoa; whilst the Faculty of Science is concerned with the scientific side, the Superintendence for Architectural and Environmental Liguria Estate covers the maintenance of architectural buildings and structures.