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The Must-See, Enchanting Parco Durazzo Pallavicini in Pegli

One of the most charming spots I visited in the entire Italian region of Liguria is the park of the Villa Durazzo Pallavicini. Pegli is an easy twenty-minute train ride from Genova, and the entrance to the park is literally right next to the train station. I went with my classmate Thomas, and because we weren't expecting the park to be so big, we got lost trying to venture further from town to find it. In reality, the park is 9 hectares (over 22 acres). But the entrance is a stone's throw from the train station, and then the park winds itself up out of town all the way to a castle on top of a hill. The walk up to the park from the entrance on Via Ignazio Pallavicini is a steady incline walled off from the rest of the city.

entrance to Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

The park is private: a weekend ticket is 13€ for adults, but to be honest with you, now having seen it, I'd pay three times that. It's so beautiful, well-maintained, and filled to the brim with interesting sights. Though it's only 2.5 km round-trip, it is pretty hilly. It's estimated to take 2.5 hours, and I think we were in there for 3... I could happily have stayed another 3 had I the energy to do the walk again.

The Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini was built in the 1840s in a neoclassical style, but it has many influences. There's a gothic structure, a Chinese bridge, a Turkish pavilion, a Swiss hut, a Roman bridge, an Egyptian obelisk, and a tiny Arc de Triomphe. There were so many things to see in this park—24 to be exact, according to the map of the scenic path. In addition to those already named, there's a man-made grotto, a hand-crank ferris wheel, some gorgeous statues, a small waterfall, and a castle with a stunning view.

All the Sights in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini

For ease of following along, I'll go in order with the map, rather than in a ranked order. If it's not obvious as you read, I'll tell you my favorites at the end of the post. Here's an Italian-language map of the Parco Pallavicini:

map of parco di villa durazzo pallavicini in pegli italy

Sight 1: La Tribuna Gotica (The Gothic Something)

The first item on the list has a very poor translation to English. The internet says "tribuna" means tribune, platform, or podium, but you can see it's really none of those. Anyway, it was pretty. If you walk past it, you can venture out on the patio for a great view of Pegli. This is the original Villa Durazzo Pallavicini, which is now the Archeological Museum of Liguria. We opted out, but you can get a ticket for both the museum and the park for only 3€ more.

la tribune gotica  in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 2: La Coffee House

Feels like you can translate that one on your own... This was a very understated building considering the amazing details on the columns and ceiling.

the coffee house in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 3: L'arco di Trionfo

Just before this tiny Arc de Triomphe was a charming fountain and some nice greenery. By this point, I was already enamored with the park and knew we were in for a treat!

Sight 4: Il Romitaggio (The Hermitage)

This stone cottage-esque structure was billed as a place to retreat, meditate, find sanctuary. While we didn't stop for long, it did feel quite cozy.

the romitaggio in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 5: L'Oasi Mediterranea

The Mediterranean Oasis was exactly that. The cactuses were thriving, the flowers were blooming, and this was a slice of botanical paradise tucked into the rest of the park.

mediterranean oasis in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 6: Il Viale delle Camelie

Most of the Camellias were gone, as we must have come a little past season. However, this part of the Parco Durazza Pallavicini still smelled wonderful.

Sight 7: Il Lago Vecchio (The Old Lake)

I can't comment on the age of this lake, but I can say the tiny waterfall was a nice touch. The lake had some tadpoles, a lot of insects, and a nice wooden bridge across it so we could continue the journey.

the old lake il lago vecchio in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 8: La Sorgente (The Source? The Well?)

The water here was so clear for some reason, and this was the first of two thatched-roof huts in the park. The second, two stops down, was the Swiss shelter.

la sorgente in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 9: La Cappelletta di Maria (The Shrine to Maria)

I really liked this little shrine. It's so beautiful constructed, and the columns remind me of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo here in Genova.

shrine to maria cappelletta di maria in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 10: La Capanna Svizzera (The Swiss Shack)

We ended up resting in the Swiss hut for a little while to let a bout of rain pass. After that, the blue skies were endless and picture-perfect. The overlook in front of this hut was a much better view than that of the hut itself. You can see in the distance that stretch of land in the sea is actually the runway for the Genoa airport!

view from the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 11: Il Castello del Capitano

The Castle was definitely a bit of a trek to get to the top of the hill, but it was worth it. I really enjoyed the stained glass windows on the second floor. I'm partial to an enclosed, stone spiral staircase, and this one takes you up to a wrap-around balcony was panoramic views of Pegli and the Mediterranean.

view from balcony of castle in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 12: Il Mausoleo del Capitano (The Captain's Mausoleum)

I'm still astonished that such a small feature in this park is so well crafted. Look at that roof! Look at those arches!

il mausoleo del capitano in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 13: Il Parco dei Divertimenti

This was pretty wild. I was expecting a playscape, just not one this old. I don't know if I'd be interested in riding this ferris wheel, though I'd surely prefer it to the job of working the hand crank. Wow!

old handcrank ferris wheel in il parco di divertimenti in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 14: Le Grotte degli Inferi

The grotto was pretty cool. Even though it was man-made, it still was fun to walk through, and I love the sight of water in a grotto. The scenic path through the park was also really well done because after a long hike up to the castle and then down in this dark grotto, you come out in front with a gorgeous view of the next sight.

il grotto inside il castello del capitano in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 15: Il Tempio di Diana

The Temple of Diana is surely the crowned jewel of the park. It's the first image you see on Google, and it's easy to see why. It's beautiful. Everything in this park was designed and constructed with such care and intention, and I appreciated every second of it. This lake is also the center of most of the interesting sights in the park. You can see the Chinese Bridge in the background of this photo, and a nice view of the grotto is available here, too.

temple of diana and chinese bridge  in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 16: Il Ponte Cinese

This bridge was great. First, it was two little arches and a flat part in the middle, which feels like an odd way to build a bridge, but I'm no engineer. Also seemed dangerous, but this isn't the U.S., so I'm sure liability insurance isn't a thing. Anyway, the lake features a small island with some plants on it. It's an odd shape, and there's only this one bridge to access it.

Sight 17: L'Obelisco Egizio

The Egyptian Obelisk can be seen from all over the lake thanks to its height. The park also has a ton of sculptures tucked away that don't even make it on the map.

Sight 18: I Giardini di Flora

This building, its surrounding plants, and its great view of the obelisk was my second favorite part of the park, just behind Diana. It's all just so charming and adorable. When you first enter, you walk through two greenhouses with little metal bleachers holding rows of plants. Then you come into a small courtyard with a gorgeous statue surrounded by blooming flowers. Through the small pink house with amazing sculptures is another bit of lawn flanked by more plants. At the end of it, two statues bookend a gate from where you can view the obelisk and miniature island you just experienced.

the gorgous statue and flowers outside the flower garden il ponte cinese in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 19: Il Chiosco Turco (The Turkish Pavilion)

This is one of the fanciest pavilions I've been in, and I have to say, I liked it. The decorations were very cool, even or especially, the ceiling.

Sight 20: La Rimembranza (The Memory)

This was a gorgeous marble statue on the other side of a very odd little moat.

la rimembranza in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 21: Il Ponte Romano

The Roman Bridge features tons of small lion heads and gives one more excellent view of the lake before you continue on your way.

Sight 22: Il Chiosco delle Rose (The Pavilion of the Rose)

None of the roses were in bloom, but you can image how nice this pavilion would smell during the right season.

il chiosco delle rose in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 23: Il Labirinto

The Labyrinth was not as intimating as it sounds. It was less of a maze and more of a curvy path with no wrong turns. In bloom, though, it would be a great walk.

il labirinto in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Sight 24: Il Coccodrillo (The Croc!)

We completely almost missed the crocodile statue because it was just off to the side and unassuming. But it's a fun touch and a nice way to end was what a very beautiful park.

il coccodrillo in the Parco di Villa Durazzo Pallavicini pegli italy

Final Thoughts

I think the best part of the park has to be, obviously, the lake with the temple to Diana. You get a great view of multiple sights, the Chinese bridge, the Egyptian obelisk, and the exit to the grotto in the background. I thought the tiny island in the middle of the lake was very cute, and I found the Flower Garden so charming. It looked like the perfect place to have afternoon tea or sit and read a book.

I think this rivals some of my favorite gardens of late, including Isola Bella and the Quinta de Regelaira. It was named the best park in Italy in 2017, and yeah, I get it. We followed up the visit with a quick coffee and walk along the Pegli beach, rounding out a really perfect trip. It took about four hours total, making this a half-day day trip from Genoa that I highly recommend!

beach in pegli italy spiaggi di pegli

By the way -- Even though I included so many photos in this post, I took so many more (105). I obviously couldn't fit them all in, so if you want the full experience, they're on my flickr.


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