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The places that enchanted the artist

Many great artists have fallen in love with Italy, its history and its beauty. One of them was Claude Monet, the founder of Impressionist painting, who found himself utterly enraptured by the allure of western Liguria during a trip he took in 1884 in search of new inspiration. As his base he chose Bordighera and the surrounding area, where today’s visitors can still explore and admire the same views and subjects as those in his paintings.

“These places seem to be made especially for painting en plein air. I feel particularly stimulated by this experience and I therefore plan to return to Giverny later than anticipated, even though my peace of mind is disturbed by your absence”, Monet wrote to his beloved wife Alice Hoschedé.

And this was the starting point for some of his greatest masterpieces, now gracing the world’s top museums: his search for that special light, plant life and sea whose abundant beauty was so difficult to capture, but which won his heart to the point of creating some 50 paintings here.

To discover them in real life, start with Bordighera Alta and its elegant residences such as Villa Garnier, Villa Etelinda and Villa Regina Margherita, their luxuriant gardens filled with palms, orange trees and wonderful views; but particularly Villa Pompeo Mariani, surrounded by what remains of the lovely Moreno Garden, one of Monet’s favourite places – “indescribable, it’s pure magic; all the world’s plants seem to grow here spontaneously”.

Just 20 minutes’ drive away is the delightful subject of perhaps the most celebrated of Monet’s Ligurian paintings: the bridge and the castle at Dolceacqua, one of the prettiest villages in the region.

And finally, seekers of history and nature can get another glimpse of Monet’s world on the ancient  Sentiero del Beodo hiking trail, admiring the palm grove overlooking the sea and the hills covered with mediterranean plants and flowers, which captivated the artist more than 130 years ago.

If you’d like to enjoy this experience with a guided tour, email us at