Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini is a villa with notable 19th century park in the English romantic style and a small botanical garden. The villa now houses the Museo di Archeologia Ligure, and is located at Via Pallavicini, 13, immediately next to the railway station in Pegli, a suburb of Genoa, Italy Twain describes this gardens in his Letter #44 to Daily Alta California and used in Chapter 49 of The Innocents Abroad. He is comparing a site from a "ragged and ruined stone window arch" on Mt Tabor, above the Plain of Esdraelon.
To glance at the salient features of this landscape through the picturesque framework of a ragged and ruined stone window—arch of the time of Christ, thus hiding from sight all that is unattractive, is to secure to yourself a pleasure worth climbing the mountain to enjoy. One must stand on his head to get the best effect in a fine sunset, and set a landscape in a bold, strong framework that is very close at hand, to bring out all its beauty. One learns this latter truth never more to forget it, in that mimic land of enchantment, the wonderful garden of my lord the Count Pallavicini, near Genoa. You go wandering for hours among hills and wooded glens, artfully contrived to leave the impression that Nature shaped them and not man; following winding paths and coming suddenly upon leaping cascades and rustic bridges; finding sylvan lakes where you expected them not; loitering through battered mediaeval castles in miniature that seem hoary with age and yet were built a dozen years ago; meditating over ancient crumbling tombs, whose marble columns were marred and broken purposely by the modern artist that made them; stumbling unawares upon toy palaces, wrought of rare and costly materials, and again upon a peasant’s hut, whose dilapidated furniture would never suggest that it was made so to order; sweeping round and round in the midst of a forest on an enchanted wooden horse that is moved by some invisible agency; traversing Roman roads and passing under majestic triumphal arches; resting in quaint bowers where unseen spirits discharge jets of water on you from every possible direction, and where even the flowers you touch assail you with a shower; boating on a subterranean lake among caverns and arches royally draped with clustering stalactites, and passing out into open day upon another lake, which is bordered with sloping banks of grass and gay with patrician barges that swim at anchor in the shadow of a miniature marble temple that rises out of the clear water and glasses its white statues, its rich capitals and fluted columns in the tranquil depths. So, from marvel to marvel you have drifted on, thinking all the time that the one last seen must be the chiefest. And, verily, the chiefest wonder is reserved until the last, but you do not see it until you step ashore, and passing through a wilderness of rare flowers, collected from every corner of the earth, you stand at the door of one more mimic temple. Right in this place the artist taxed his genius to the utmost, and fairly opened the gates of fairy land. You look through an unpretending pane of glass, stained yellow—the first thing you see is a mass of quivering foliage, ten short steps before you, in the midst of which is a ragged opening like a gateway-a thing that is common enough in nature, and not apt to excite suspicions of a deep human design—and above the bottom of the gateway, project, in the most careless way! a few broad tropic leaves and brilliant flowers. All of a sudden, through this bright, bold gateway, you catch a glimpse of the faintest, softest, richest picture that ever graced the dream of a dying Saint, since John saw the New Jerusalem glimmering above the clouds of Heaven. A broad sweep of sea, flecked with careening sails; a sharp, jutting cape, and a lofty lighthouse on it; a sloping lawn behind it; beyond, a portion of the old “city of palaces,” with its parks and hills and stately mansions; beyond these, a prodigious mountain, with its strong outlines sharply cut against ocean and sky; and over all, vagrant shreds and flakes of cloud, floating in a sea of gold. The ocean is gold, the city is gold, the meadow, the mountain, the sky—every thing is golden-rich, and mellow, and dreamy as a vision of Paradise. No artist could put upon canvas, its entrancing beauty, and yet, without the yellow glass, and the carefully contrived accident of a framework that cast it into enchanted distance and shut out from it all unattractive features, it was not a picture to fall into ecstasies over. Such is life, and the trail of the serpent is over us all.
There is nothing for it now but to come back to old Tabor, though the subject is tiresome enough, and I can not stick to it for wandering off to scenes that are pleasanter to remember. I think I will skip, any how.
The most delightful excursion in the environs is to the * Villa Pallavicini, at Pegli, 71/2 M . W . of Genoa, a station on the Genoa and Nice Railway ( p. 95 ; in 35 min ., fares 1 fr. 10, 88, and 55 c .) . The station is immediately opposite to the entrance of the villa . One of the gardeners ( fee 2 fr. for 1 pers. , more for a party of the Marchese conducts visitors through the grounds and the park , the inspection of which occupies about 2 hrs. They extend to a considerable height on the slopes rising from the coast and display the richest luxuriance of southern vegetation . Cedars , magnolias , magnificent oleanders, azalias , camellias, etc. here flourish in the open air. Several points of view afford the most charming prospects of Genoa , the sea, coast, and mountains. The highest of these points is occupied by a building in the mediæval style with a tower, whence an extensive and magnificent panorama is enjoyed. The other attractions are the Mausoleum , the remains of an ancient Roman burial-place, a stalactite grotto (with a subterranean piece of water, over which visitors are conveyed by a boat; fee 1/2 fr. ) , beneath the bridge a striking glimpse of the lighthouse of Genoa and the sea ; kiosks in the Pompeian , Turkish , and Chinese style, obelisk , fountains, etc. may also be inspected. The gardens also contain a few examples of the coffee, vanilla, cinnamon , pepper, sugar cane, camphor, and other plants, which will interest the visitor.