Parco della Villetta Di Negro
Piazzale Giuseppe Mazzini
+39 010 868 7452
The rich vegetation of this green space in the heart of the city once framed the neoclassical villa built there by the Marquis Di Negro, designed by C. Barabino. This villa was renowned for the international artistic coterie of painters and writers by which it was frequented (including D'Azeglio, Manzoni, Stendhal and Dickens), as well as serving as a meeting place for patriots and politicans of the time, in particular Mazzini. The villa, destroyed by bombing in the last war, was replaced in 1971 by a modern building, designed by the architect M. Labò, and it houses the Museo di Arte Orientale E. Chiossone
. The park covers about two hectares, and was the site of the city's first botanical garden in 1780, and then of the first zoological garden. The path leading to the top of the hill weaves between imposing specimens of exotic plants, including palm trees, Lebanese cedars, camphors and sequoias, crossing playful fountains, lakes with swans and ducks, aviaries of birds, evocative artificial grottoes and the breathtaking waterfall, a fairytale feature in an urban context, as favoured by the taste of the age. The highest areas of the park, with its well established pine trees and an attractive fishpond yields a memorable view over nineteenth century Genova. Access to the gardens is through Piazza Mazzini (above Piazza Corvetto) from Via Martin Piaggio and the Dinegro hill.