It took a visit back to Italy, (five years after we left) to see a dear friend, to ‘discover’ this garden; a disgrace on my part given that we lived fairly close to Cernobbio for nearly a decade!
With little else to do on a January afternoon, when so much is closed to residents as well as tourists, we wandered along narrow streets to discover the garden. Our friend had been before, several years ago, and knew that it now suffered the same ‘neglect’ that all gardens do when you are less able to attend to its daily needs.
I was not disappointed in the way it looked. It is obvious that in the spring and summer months there would be more colour but the wildness and slightly unkempt look is so much my kind of garden, so like nature.
The following text is taken from the notice board in the garden – ‘Pupa Frati began creating The Valley Garden in the early 1980s. She transformed the banks of the Garrovo stream from an illegal dump into the beautiful garden that exists today with the occasional collaboration of a few keen friends. In 2001 the Association of The Valley Garden was formed in order to guarantee the conservation, the upkeep and the improvement of the garden. In 2002 the botanical trail was inaugurated. Following this trail allows you to observe all the diverse botanical species present in the garden.’
Pupa Frati is now 94 years of age.
We entered the garden from the top, (having walked up the road which runs parallel to the garden), here the Garrovo stream can be heard, rippling downwards towards the lake, round stones and boulders. However, with the dryness of the previous months, the stream ceased moving further down the garden. A narrow path and steps take you down the valley, with places to rest and enjoy the vista.
Large wooden statues punctuate the garden. A narrow bridge crosses the valley – it was at this point the water just lay instead of flowed – and sadly a conifer, with layered flat branches, spread itself too far to take a picture back up the valley.
If you ever find yourself in Cernobbio or nearby please seek this gem out.