In this month’s magazine, Iain MacDonald visits Hanbury Botanical Gardens on the Italian Riviera, home to a large collection of plants from around the world.
The promontory of Cap Mortola juts into the sea, giving uninterrupted views along the coast from the Bay of Ventimiglia in the east to the Estrel Mountains behind Monaco and Nice. High mountains to the north and ridges on the flanks protect the site from cold and damaging winter gales. While predominately rocky and steep, there is a favoured flat area at the lower coastal plain and a seasonal stream tumbles down one side of the site. These natural attractions have encouraged people to live in the area for many millennia. Indeed, Stone Age artefacts have been discovered. Imperial Rome constructed the Via Iulia Augusta across the Cap as part of a route connecting the capital with Arles, completed in 12 BC.
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