The Italian Gardens are reputed to have been constructed around 1849/50. They are based on the Isola Bella Gardens in Lake Maggiore where Capel Hanbury Leigh went for his second honeymoon. Plants from this area were brought back to Pontypool, as was the custom at that time. The gardens are noted as Italian Gardens on the 1918 ordnance survey map but they are not mentioned on the 1881 map. However, an area of similar description is marked but not named, on this earlier map.
The Italian Gardens appear to have taken on greater significance when Mrs Tenison, the daughter of John Hanbury gave the gardens to the people of Pontypool to commemorate her coming of age in 1920. The white wall along Hanbury Road, which had hidden the gardens from public view, was removed and a new entrance to the Park was built which subsequently became the memorial for those who fell in the 1st World War.
Planting in this area focuses on specimens considered fashionable from 1900 onwards. Other features to note are the tramway tunnel and riverside walk taking in the weir towards Pontymoile.
Last Modified: 05/12/2018
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