Park of Villa Tigullio in Rapallo
Parco Casale - 16035 Rapallo (GE)
Villa Tigullio Villa Tigullio

O sweet Rapallo, a city of gold, illuminated by coral sunsets, your emerald sea and your blue sky make every couple dream. You are the jewel of Tigullio, paradise of love lovers you are the flame…”. This is what Prince Antonio de Curtis, best known by his stage name Totò, wrote about Rapallo, an antique sea small village that rises on the side of the Portofino headland, a place for artists and kings between the 19th and 20th centuries, a place where beach tourism in Liguria “was born”.

Ernest Hemingway also speaks about Rapallo in Cat in the rain; both the Nobel prize winning poet Yeats and Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, lived here, while the philosopher Frederich Nietzsche wrote the first parts of his Thus Spoke Zarathustra while staying here. The houses, lanes and villas of Rapallo have also hosted personalities such as Ezra Pound and Vasilij Kandinskij, Soraya of Persia and the last king of Lithuania, Mindaugaus II.

Rapallo is one of the places where seaside tourism began during the Belle Époque.  There are many luxurious hotels built and designed for rich travellers from the end of the 19th and start of the 20th centuries and for guests, as can be seen, of great importance. In the same manner the splendid villas and magnificent residences sprinkled over the territory are too many to be counted.

One of these is Villa Tigullio, home of the Museo del Merletto (Lace Museum) and the International Library, located in the centre of a wonderful park beside the sea, a building at the centre of the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of the ROP ERDF 2007-2013): thanks to this intervention the villa and park can be redeveloped with special maintenance being carried out on the entrance, the renovation of the floors and the walls and park landscape restoration.

A little bit of history

Villa Tigullio was built in the 17th century, probably after the area between the Tuja and Carcara streams was bought by Paolo Spinola to build his holiday home. Over the centuries the building changed hands various times.

In 1884 it hosted San Giovanni Bosco who celebrated Mass in the nearby little church of San Rocco on the Thursday before Easter. In June 1907 count Costantino Nigra, one of the creators of the National Unity government, stayed there in an attempt to improve his precarious health. He reached Rapallo on board the ship “Calabria” made available by the Government, but he died in the villa of pulmonary oedema on the night between 30th June and 01st July.

In 1974 the Municipality of Rapallo purchased the villa, which became the home of the International Library and the Museo del Merletto (Lace Museum), while the large park, which extends like a terrace to the sea, is used to host presentations and prestigious performances.

The intervention

The Villa Tigullio park is in a romantic English style, and maintains the original layout dating from the second half of the 19th century. It has many trees that are more than a hundred years old.
Restoration is aimed at park preservation and development, in addition to improving access to the library and the museum with interventions for restoring the external spaces.

The project includes special maintenance on the Villa Tigullio park entrance, with renewal of the flooring and the kerbs at the western entry area, and the creation of green areas, with equipped stopping areas.
In addition, the supporting walls on via Avenaggi are to be preserved and restored; the antique supporting walls of the park will be made safe to stop them from falling.

A main intervention is the philological restoration of the garden, even from a plant viewpoint, with restoration of the historical elements that are still present, the footpaths following the antique drawings, and the visual elements facing the landscape according to the original project for the garden.
The aim is to restore the primitive image of the garden by eliminating incongruous interventions, water regulation systems, creating a precipitation network, eliminating trees that are ill or in danger of falling and replacing them with examples of the same species, restoring the shrub-like areas, restoring the flooring, kerbs and the grassy areas, and finally adding street furniture.

Materials deriving from local tradition will mainly be used. Photovoltaic lighting will also be used to illuminate the park area. After being restored, the garden will be promoted in all the Italian specialist magazines and on the sector Internet sites.


Established on the most inland point of the Tigullio gulf, sheltered by the Portofino headland, Rapallo is a stopping point for reaching two of the most beautiful hamlets on the Riviera, famous internationally: Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino.
Famous holiday areas, these cities have hotels, restaurants and night spots, and are the target of VIPs, Hollywood actors, politicians and showbiz people, and an unmissable stop for the jet set.

From the seafront of Santa Margherita to the beach in Paraggi, from the small square in Portofino, the location of boutiques and night spots of world level, up to the spectacular Castello Brown perched on the headland, you cross some of the most beautiful places in Liguria, immersed in greenery and in the protected sea area, created to protect one of the stretches of sea with the most biodiversity in the Mediterranean.


Villa Tigullio has been the home of the Museo del Merletto (Lace Museum) since 1990, the only one in the whole of Liguria dedicated mainly to bobbin lace, which was produced from the 16th century onwards in various centres on the Riviera.
The rooms exhibit hand-made items produced between the 16th and the 20th centuries: lace, samples and embroideries, antique bobbins, clothes, fashion accessories, children’s clothes, personal items and for the home, but also around 5000 patterns and cards used for production.

Of exceptional interest is a large-sized panel completely made of various types of lace joined in a mosaic, which represents the characters of the Commedia dell’Arte, created and designed in 1964 by the famous illustrator and set designer Lele Luzzati for decorating an American cruise liner.

Visible, among others, are fine lace made from silver and gold, a very precious christening set, a series of bonnets, antique umbrellas, common and noble garments, and a collection of high fashion clothes from the mid-20th century.

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