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Villa Ormond and its prestigious park

In 1875, the Swiss entrepreneur Michel Louis Ormond bought Villa Rambaldi located in a very large estate in the eastern area of Sanremo. Ormond was the owner of a cigar factory in Vevey, the county seat of the Riviera-Pays-d’Enhaut district in the Canton of Vaud, as well as a great admirer of history and art. The purchase of the villa was due to the fragile health conditions of his wife, the poet Marie Marguerite Renet, so that she could benefit from the mild weather of Riviera. In February 1887, the Ormond residence was severely damaged from the earthquake that devastated the western Liguria and destroyed also the historic centre of Bussana. This is why they decided to build on those ashes what became the current Villa Ormond after two years of construction. The wonderful park surrounding it features a rich exotic vegetation dominated by an ancient stone fountain with cherubs.  The whole green space was created by following the French environmental taste of the second half of the nineteenth century, the exotic plants were arranged next to olive and citrus trees thus replacing the typical Ligurian terracing.  These changes gave the park a typical layout featured by different sections, with diversified vegetative environments – the prestigious palm grove, the cedar area, the ancient olive grove, the Ficus series and the wonderful Italian garden.

After the death of Michel Louis Ormond in 1901 and that of his wife Marie Marguerite in 1925, the Ormond property was offered for sale and entirely bought in 1930 by the Municipality of Sanremo.

Walking through the Park of Villa Ormond, it is impossible not to feel admiration also for the Japanese Garden, which is the result of the twinning between the cities of Sanremo and Atami. The Zen philosophy is reflected in a very fascinating corner with its typical atmosphere featuring boulders and stones arranged brilliantly on a turf, with all its beauty that stands out. The typical Japanese flora merges with the context, which results in the peculiar oriental harmony.  The rear space of the villa was instead used as a “winter garden” and used for events and important ceremonies. In fact, the Park is an ideal venue to organize many events such as weddings, baptisms, private parties, gala evenings and great musical and dancing events. The location is also suitable for housing art exhibitions or international floral expositions, in addition to its traditional vocation as a congress centre. Villa Ormond has been also hosting for decades the headquarters of the Supporting Foundation of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, which was founded in 1970 as an independent non-profit organization. The Institute supports the development of international humanitarian law with a focus on human rights, the refugee law, the migration law and related issues.

Riccardo Piovesana

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