The Giardino del Merlo (Blackbird’s Garden) is located on the headland of Sasso di Musso, on the border that divides Dongo from Musso, and has a breath-taking view of the lake. It was built in the second half of the nineteenth century as a botanical garden at the behest of Giovanni Manzi, a member of the noble family that gave its name to the building that houses the Dongo Town Hall, i.e. Palazzo Manzi. With the death after the war of Giuseppina, last heir of the Manzi family, the park was abandoned and damaged, even becoming a marble quarry.
In recent years, a lot of valuable work has gone into recovering and securing the garden, which ended with the official opening of the garden in September 2018.
Built in a panoramic position on a steep slope at the foot of the ruins of the castle that belonged to Giangiacomo de’ Medici, known as “Il Medeghino” (16th century), the garden was inspired by the gardens of the Ligurian Riviera overlooking the sea. The park, with its wild aspect, presents different contrasts, alternating between Mediterranean and exotic vegetation and other types of Alpine plants, where typical local plants blend beautifully with prickly pears, palm trees and eucalyptus trees. Along the path there are small bridges, caves and stone constructions built by Giovanni Manzi and the beautiful Church of Sant’Eufemia. All these elements make it a place of undisputed charm and beauty.