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Pallanca Exotic Garden

Cacti and succulents also admire the Bordigotto sea

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Where is


Giardino Esotico Pallanca, Via Madonna della Ruota, 1, 18012 Bordighera IM, Italia (35m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

Terraces, paths and ladders carved into the rock, spaces painstakingly won with labor and ingenuity. The result is a garden, but it would not be entirely wrong to also call it a wunderkammer. Just like the collections of antiquities of scholars and scientists, this is also a place that holds a valuable collection, which has no shortage of rare and amazing specimens. Only, unlike the classical ones, this one is made of living elements: succulent plants of so many different species. This is what makes the Pallanca Exotic Garden one of the most important cactus and succulent collections in Europe!

Why it's special

Entering this kind of forest made of very tall stems, lower and stubby plants, among thorns, small hairs, flowers and fruits is a special experience. Even more so when you think that you only have to turn in the right direction to meet the sea of Bordighera. This is how the shades of green, the earthy notes of the rocks, the squillant flowers, contrast with the deep blue of the water. And after getting lost for a moment peering at that flat, deserted calm, going back to immerse ourselves in the garden makes us feel even more the grandeur of these 10,000 square meters that gather more than 3,000 species including cacti and succulents.

Not to be missed

The richness of this collection is such that it is possible to admire it again and again, each time finding a new detail ready to amaze us. One of the most special experiences, however, is to meet the Pallanca brothers, Giacomo or Giò Batta, and be told about the generational history of the garden, the care and passion they put into it every day and with which they follow each type of plant. Or maybe they will be able to point out some of the garden's highlights, such as a Copiapoa native to Chile that is more than 300 years old and some Neobuxbaumia polylopha specimens that are about 6 meters tall.

A bit of history

In 1861 Giacomo Pallanca left the traditional family business to join German botanist Ludwig Winter, with whom he worked for more than 20 years. During this time he also passed on his passion to his son Bartholomew, who, in 1910, decided to strike out on his own and create his own garden of ornamental plants and flowers. After the Great War, with the help of his son Giacomo, he specialized in succulent plants. The garden-nursery quickly became a landmark, and since 1989, thanks to Barth, Giacomo Pallanca's son, the garden-nursery has also been open to the public.


The garden-nursery's fame has brought the Pallanca family several requests for advice and assistance in the creation of other gardens. You may therefore find yourself even quite far from Bordighera, but still recognize a familiar touch. One example? The gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano.

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Federica Novelli

The richness of the varieties present and the exceptional size of many of them make the Pallanca Exotic Garden the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the country, ranking it among the top in the world.