Villa Doney, garden, pool, outbuildings and greenhouse, San Michele Pagana (Genova)

The work of actually creating the garden with pool, outbuildings, and greenhouse designed for Mrs. Rina Brion occupied Porcinai from 1960 through 1983.
The initial situation presented considerable difficulties: the property, within the Villa Doney estate, is located on steeply-sloping land near the bottom a quite narrow valley and is delimited below by a torrent that runs alongside a road leading to the new buildings under construction around the villa.

The Landscape architect modified the road layout with a new curve, channeled a stretch of the torrent and “re-naturalized” the area with hydraulic engineering works, and modeled the land itself with backfill. To conceal the nearby buildings, he planted the boundaries of the property with dense screens of large Quercus ilex and pine (Pinus pinea, Pinus halepensis) brought in by helicopter from nurseries.
The garden is divided into areas: the dining corner, furnished with two large square tables, is located beyond a screen of holm oak, in an area paved with large square slabs of slate bordered by strips of white and black pebble paving.
On one side runs a small stream that arises from a sculpture made using stone selected personally by Porcinai from the Serra river bed and descends to a basin facing the pool.
The pool itself, rectangular in form, is surrounded by wooden decking and pebble surfacing. A “toboggan” slide, lined with Ficus repens, descends from the terracing above almost to the level of the water. The entrance to the changing rooms, concealed behind the slide, takes the form of a nymph’s grotto with sponges, shells, and pebbles.
The rear portion of the garden features a shady area ornamented with flooring in the Ligurian tradition and camellias. The choice of plants is precisely calibrated and besides the pines and the holm oak includes Sophora japonica, Magnolia soulangeana, Crinum, Bouganvillea, forsythias, jasmines, flowering and fruit-bearing pomegranates, Hibiscus, Escallonia, Actinidia sinensis, Lilium, Muhlembeckia platiclara, Plumeria, Plumbago, Sparmania africana, waterlilies, iris, etc.

(Ph.: arch. Stefania Spina)

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