Winter garden and palm grove in Bordighera
via Ludovico Winter 6 - 18012 Bordighera (IM)
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Most of the image of the Western Riviera is created by the presence of exotic plants, in particular palms. Its model, in fact, is the world of oases, fashionable from the start of the 20th century. The largest sources of oriental image are the Middle East, Africa, South America and the Mongolian deserts.

Planted at the end of the 1900s, because thought they could make the air healthier for the numerous tourists that were arriving from Northern Europe, the addition of palms to the landscape spread along the whole coast.  Thanks to this, and for the inspiration it gave to writers, painters and famous artists, the Bordighera palm grove became one of the most famous resorts on the Riviera.

A little bit of history

The German landscape architect Ludwig Winter, the main promoter of palm trees in Europe, was in Bordighera during that period.
Favoured by the warm, dry climate, he designed a Palm-Garden that is still present in the vallone del Sasso (Sasso valley), and which has one of the richest collections of palm trees that exist in Europe.

Bordighera has the most northern Phoenix dactylifera in the world. Legend tells that the palms were introduced by the hermit and blacksmith Sant’Ampelio, the patron saint of Bordighera, who brought dates back from Egypt in the 5th century.

Sasso’s Palm Garden created by Ludwig Winter was a plant nursery business that exported small plants in vases, and an important craft for the local economy developed from this: many families in fact lived by weaving the palm leaves used in Hebrew and Christian religious feasts.


The fascination of the oasis spread through the whole Riviera dei Fiori (Riviera of Flowers) and the French Riviera. There are palm groves in Sanremo, Ospedaletti and Nice, and they blend perfectly with the Liberty architecture.

Seborga can be found near Sanremo, inland towards the spurs that straddle the Alps and the Apennines. A small Medieval village, it is known throughout Italy for its presumed “independence”: according to a legend (fuelled by the locals), Seborga was once an antique independent principality, therefore not ‘suitable’ for entering the Kingdom of Sardinia, a prelude to Seborga and Liguria becoming part of the Kingdom of Italy.

Seborga therefore has its prince, its passports, and its money, all of which are “valid” but only inside Seborga.
Halfway between history, marketing and legend, what remains beyond this story is a very beautiful Medieval village to be discovered.


Claude Monet painted some exceptional canvases in 1884 because charmed by the light and colours of the old channel that captured the water coming from Rio Sasso along the Beodo trail.

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