The enchanting position of the La Cervara complex
Surrounded by the Mediterranean scrub of the Ligurian hills La Cervara is in an enviable position from which to admire the beauty of the greenery and the sea waters of the gulf. The ancient complex is hardly seen from the sea as it is immersed in a vegetation made of plants that make it a reserved and protected place. Upstream of the residence, on the surrounding hills, there is a succession of terraces that are characteristic of the landscape of Liguria where ancient olive trees that are also present in the Abbey gardens are cultivated. The surrounding vegetation is varied: in the full sun areas we find cistus and strawberry trees and in April also the white garlic bells; in the undergrowth areas we find the evergreen shrubs of laurel, lianas and filiree. And then many holm oaks, Aleppo pines, heather trees, ash trees and bagus trees. It is a wooded and wild place, which refers to the Middle Ages, when the Abbey was built, protected by greenery and overlooking the splendid Ligurian sea.
The history of the Abbey and the complex of La Cervara
La Cervara dates back to 1361, when the construction of a monastery of San Girolamo began. It is said that he was visited by religious and famous people: from the great Petrarch to Saint Catherine of Siena and numerous popes, from the condottiere Giovanni d'Austria to the scholar Piccolomini and the scientist Marconi. But the most significant traces were left by Francis I, the king of France, defeated and imprisoned in the tower overlooking the Gulf of Tigullio. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the Abbey experienced periods of splendor as evidenced by the architecture of the church and the quadrangular cloister. Cervara then resisted tragic events such as the suppression of all monastic orders and the abandonment of Benedictine monks. In the nineteenth century it flourished again thanks to the French Trappist monks but later it was abandoned and then put up for sale. After several changes of ownership and the presence of the Somaschi religious and then of the Carthusians, in 1937 Cervara became a private residence. The complex was declared a National Monument and the current owner has carried out restorations safeguarding the garden and the original structure of the complex.
The garden of the La Cervara complex
The garden of La Cervara is the only historic garden in Liguria that overlooks the Mediterranean and has an Italian-style structure. Usually a garden is never located directly above the sea, as the flowers and plants are damaged by salt. Instead the Italian garden of the Cervara complex blooms splendidly on the Tigullio sea. Visiting every corner of it has the distinct feeling of being surrounded by the sea but always immersed in an oasis of unique and original greenery. The Cervara has a precious asset, a concentration of botanical species: you can admire the American Agave as the Sterilitzia, the Chinese palm as our local bougainvillea, and then the Aleppo pines and a monumental wisteria. Around it stands a boxwood hedge shaped according to ancient principles. The protagonist is certainly the Mediterranean type vegetation and, walking through the garden paths, you cross a path full of perfumes, including those of the plants of capers, pines and citrus fruits. There is also an area dedicated to aromatic and medicinal plants, in honor of the ancient botanical tradition of the abbeys.
Visits and events
The beauty of the garden and of the entire complex of La Cervara are available to anyone who decides to visit it even for just one day or to reside in the Abbey to spend a fabulous stay, between greenery and a mystical atmosphere. At the La Cervara complex events such as weddings or other special events are also organized, which take on a particular character in such a splendid setting that is unique in the Ligurian landscape. For recurrences, the variety of rooms, both inside and outside, offers the possibility of creating unique atmospheres and special situations: from the Cloister that welcomes guests, to the Court or the Terrace for an aperitif and finally to the Gallery of the Emperors or at the Garden of the Gardenias for a splendid dinner. The abbey also allows perfect hospitality to anyone who wants to spend a relaxing time in a dream location: it has comfortable and spacious rooms in suggestive places such as the body of the Abbey or the ancient Saracen Tower. Guests are surrounded by modern comfort and at the same time by ancient suggestions to experience moments of calm joy and almost mystical serenity.