Villa Brignole Sale Duchessa di Galliera
Built by the Brignole-Sale Marquises at the end of the 1600s, this villa is located in what can now be called the city's largest park, spread over about 32 hectares.
The residence was once visited by famous figures from all over Europe, for the joy of whom the owners built a garden in a mainly romantic style, after the fashion of the time.
The part of the park immediately adjoining the villa is a garden feature classic botanical elements such as cedar trees, cypress trees, horse-chestnuts, magnolias and palms, with grafts of traditional Ligurian flora, including maritime pines and holm-oaks, while olive trees, fruit trees and farm dwellings occupy the remainder of the park. Examples of the natural flora include the crocus biflorus, iris foetidissima, and spiranthes spiralis orchid, something of a rarity in Liguria.
Unlike at Villa Durazzo Pallavicini, visitors here can also admire a fine example of an Italian garden with a precise, orderly layout in sharp contrast to the more natural appearance of the romantic English garden. In keeping with this style are the various structures encountered along the paths of the villa, including the Coffee House, the Latteria (creamery), the Castle, the Grottos, and the ornamental water features.
A grassy plain at the top of the hill hosts a spacious paddock that is home to the fallow deer that are the prime attraction of the park. There are two churches located near the gates of the park: the San Francesco monastery, at the bottom of the park and now in disuse, and the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie (also named after San Nicolò) at the top of the hill.
Housed within the villa is the famous Teatrino Storico, Liguria's only example of the private theatres inside a villa that were a typical feature of the 18th century. Following recent restoration work, it now stages performances by the Teatro Cargo.