The garden of the circuit
Jardins des Alpes is the first garden circuit inspired with Europe in mind. The tour truly has a strong cross-border vocation because along one basic route it connects a selection of gardens that reveal the cultural, artistic and natural features of regions shaped throughout history by very remarkable cultural similarities and developments despite the historical borders of the countries themselves.
The Province of Imperia, leader of the European project Interreg III A, “Jardins des Alpes”, brought together important institutional partners like Ville de Digne-les-Bains, the Community of Towns in Moyenne Durance, the Piedmont Region, the University of Genoa, the Province of Cuneo, the cities of Ventimiglia, Savigliano, Boves, and Rocca de’ Baldi, and the cultural associations of Marcovaldo di Caraglio and Foire de la Lavande di Digne. Whether large or small, they are all united in the impressive work of restoring, beautifying and animating those gems of the soul, those secret places of peace and imagination, that are the gardens near the Italian-French border.
“Jardins des Alpes” is therefore an extraordinary journey in space through the Provinces of Turin and Cuneo (in Piedmont), the Province of Imperia (in Liguria) and the Department of the Alps of Upper Provence (in P.A.C.A.). But for intrepid travelers it is also an adventure through time, which is why you should prepare for some very dangerous encounters.
Liberty meets the circus (Villa Grock in Imperia), geology meets mythology (the skeletons of the sirens in the Réserve Géologique of Digne), spirituality joins contemporary art (Caraglio) in turn traversed by Nature at Saint Benoît, the city comes into contact with philosophy (Promenade Gassendi), Europe discovers Tibet (Parco Yongden), the exotic plant is acclimatized in Europe (Hanbury Gardens in Ventimiglia). In short, the cross-border adventure meets up with History. From the origins of the Alps to various philosophical and artistic movements, through all the fashions and all the ways that men and women live, and although distinct in the Italians and the French, in this garden circuit they find the threads of the same human experience.
The Jardins des Alpes has an incredible family album.
Alexandra David-Néel, untiring female explorer, the scientist and philosopher Gassendi, the disturbing hydropithecus fossil, the cultured and noble families that commissioned villas and palazzos with a garden: the Hanburys in Ventimiglia, the Cravettas in Savigliano, the Morozzos in Rocca de’ Baldi, the Tapparellis d’Azeglio in Busca, the Radicatis in Saluzzo, the Nogiers in Malijai, the Glandeves in Château Arnoux.
And the portraits of the soul of the Capuchins at Caraglio and the Benedictines at Savigliano, the enthusiasm for botany in the Cordeliers Gardens at Digne, of Lodovico Winter in western Liguria, or in the experiments of Carocci Buzi in Imperia.
And finally, the Savoy dukes and kings recaptured against the backdrop of the passion, elegance and splendour of their residences. But also the faded photograph of one who mocks Power, who laughs at the world while crying over himself, the esoteric clown Grock.
Touring the Jardins des Alpes will be an exhilarating experience. Do it lightly and with curiosity by starting up the time machine of a cross-border civilization, like children at play in the deception of a secret garden.
Profiles of the Authors
and the Photographers