This corner of England lies just inland from Genoa, its 19th-century Tudor-style mansion set in parkland where glades and lakes alternate with clumps of trees, and Mediterranean traditions blend with exotic elements.

A trip to England to visit the 1851 Universal Exhibition accompanied by his friends Carlo Cusani (designer and landscape painter) and Stefano Ludovico Pallavicino (patron of the Academy of Fine Arts), put an idea into Marquis Orso Serra’s head. He wanted to create an “English-style” garden like the ones they had visited and enjoyed. Serra owned a farm estate which had been in the Pinelli family until 1825. He commissioned Cusani to design its complete transformation. A neo-gothic villa with a crenellated tower stands on the edge of the garden, which extends over the low-lying area through which the Comago River flows. The view sweeps out over the Main Lake, its two branches split by a small peninsula, with placid, majestic black and white swans swimming on it; a large weeping willow grazes the water with its branches. Peacocks and squirrels roam free on the meadows; streams meander through the trees. One stream flows out of another lake between white rocks to form small waterfalls, a cascading and rustic water feature that flows past the Gothic tower. Some of the buildings, for example the “Vaccheria”, are reminders of the estate’s agricultural and productive past. The garden’s arboreal heritage is rich indeed, reflecting its creator’s desire to collect and include many trees of American origin that, at the time, were a highly-original feature. The garden remained in the Serra family until 1938. After various vicissitudes, in 1981 the municipalities of Genoa, Sant’Olcese and Serra Riccò formed the “Villa Serra” consortium and purchased the complex. Since 2005, a perimeter area has hosted a collection of hydrangeas that creates a splash of colour within the park.