Founded by naturalist Clarence Bicknell in 1888 and home to one of Liguria’s most invaluable book collections, this quiet oasis of meditation and study, full of exotic plants and over-a-century-old specimens, is immersed in a lush garden in the centre of Bordighera.

In 1878, botany enthusiast Clarence Bicknell moved to Bordighera to dedicate himself to the study of coastal and inland western Liguria. To share his collections and the impressive materials he gathered together during a decade of research, in 1888 he decided to build a museum in Bordighera. He commissioned architects Clarence Tait and Giovenale Gastaldi to come up with a design. In 1913, after Bicknell’s death a library was set up to house his collection of texts and archaeological, historical and cultural research focused on Liguria. The library was promoted by British vice-consul Edward Berry and his wife Margaret Serocold. Later, it came under the management of the International Institute of Ligurian Studies. The philanthropic institution is surrounded by wonderful gardens. A short botanical walk features a great many signposts and illustrative “totems”, offering info about some of the exotic plants acclimatized to the Riviera, including the Ficus magnolioides, the melaleuca, the Apollonias barbujana(Canary ebony), African palms and South American jacarandas. The front of the building is a feast of exuberant wisteria. The garden also has a stretch of paving stones from the decumanus in the city of Albintimilium(Ventimiglia), and a small monument in honour of its founder.