Set up in mountain areas for the cultivation of Alpine flora species, these mountain gardens are actual botanical gardens. Some are prevalently dedicated to autochthonous mountain flora, others have introduced species originally from other mountain chains.
In Italy, Alpine gardens started to spread from the last decades of the 19th century, at first on the Alps and later also on Mount Etna and the Apennines. Chanousia, on the hill of the Piccolo San Bernardo was founded in 1897 thanks to the passion and competences of Abbot Pierre Chanoux, a scientist and mountaineer, who dedicated his life to the study and cultivation of the local flora. Chanousia was a model for other gardens that followed its tradition, such as Viote on Monte Bondone (1938) and Paradisia (1955).
Few of these gardens have continued their activity since their foundation, many were in fact abandoned or dismantled over the years for various reasons including the world conflicts. In recent times more attention has been given to this heritage and existent Alpine gardens have been expanded, those abandoned restored, and many new ones have been created, with rocks, ponds and streams providing the perfect habitat for unique botanical rarities.