Italian Cultural Garden
990 East Blvd. Cleveland, OH 44108
Parking on East Blvd.
Italian Cultural Garden Foundation – 216-916-7780
“Italian Cultural Garden” on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/140250535544/
The Italian Cultural Garden was conceived and designed in the spirit of the Italian Renaissance with large walkways, balustrades, benches and two large winding staircases leading down to a lower level amphitheater. It was dedicated October 12, 1930 as “a symbol of the contribution of Italian culture to American democracy”
A large Renaissance fountain modeled after the fountain in the Villa Medici in Rome, Italy sits in the center piazza. A bust of the Roman poet Virgil, a large bronze of Dante Alighieri (dedicated in 2012), extensive plantings and wide walkways grace the upper level. A Pantheon structure with a statue of Galileo is in the planning stage that will finish the original plans of 1930 never completed.
The Monte Grappa Boulder – Sent by the Italian government the boulder and hewn from the side of the Monte Grappa mountain in northern Italy to honor Ohio veterans of the 332nd Regiment who fought on Italian soil in World War I.
Italo Balbo Plaque – Honors aviator Italo Balbo’s transatlantic flight from Rome to Cleveland. He was given the Distinguished Flying Cross by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Two large winding staircases lead to the lower level amphitheater and a large Renaissance fountain with images of great Italian cultural figures in the Arts & Science and Arts & Letters: Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Giuseppe Verdi, Giotto, Petrarca and Guglielmo Marconi.
Listing of Cultural Figures in the Italian Garden
Dante Alighieri – 1265 – 1321 – Florence, Italy. Known as the Supreme Poet and author of the Divine Comedy, Dante is considered as one of the greatest poets of Western civilization and the father of the modern Italian language.
Virgil – 70 BC,- 19 BC. Rome, Italy. Ancient Roman poet who wrote the “Aeneid.” Known as one of the most important poets in Western literature.
Leonardo da Vinci – 1452-1519 Florence, Italy. Known as the Renaissance Man Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, scientist, inventor, musician, mathematician, writer, engineer, anatomist, geologist, botanist. Known as one of the greatest painters of all time and called one of the most diversely talented persons ever to have lived. Paintings: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper.
Michelangelo – 1475-1564 – Arezzo, Tuscany. Called “The Divine One” Michelangelo was one of the greatest living artists of all time: painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer with an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Famous works: the Pieta in the Vatican, David in Florence, Genesis painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the Last Judgement on the altar. The architect of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy.
Petrarch – 1304-1374 – Arezzo, Tuscany. Italian scholar, poet-diplomat, early humanist in Renaissance Italy and the father of Humanism. His discovery of Cicero’s letters is often credited for initiating the 14th century Renaissance.
Giotto – 1267-1337 – Vicchio, Florence, Italy. Painter, architect, Giotto is is credited with initiating the great art of painting as we know it today.
Guglielmo Marconi – 1874-1937 – Bologna, Italy. Inventor and electrical engineer winning the Nobel prize in Physics in 1909. Known for his wireless telegraphy and development of Marconi’s law and the radio telegraph system.
Giuseppe Verdi – 1813-1901 – Le Roncole, Parma, Italy. Considered one of the two preeminent opera composers of the 19th century some of the most famous being Rigoletto, Aida, La Traviata and Il Trovatore, Otello, Falstaff and the Verdi Requiem.
The large upper level Renaissance fountain is modeled after the fountain in Villa Medici in Rome, Italy. The lower level Renaissance fountain is carved with images of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Giuseppe Verdi, Giotto, Petrarch, and Guglielmo Marconi.
Rose garden, salvia, catnip along the main paths. Old growth gingko trees. 1000 daffodils. Boxwood planned for main paths.
A $1.2 million restoration started in 2007 is currently in progress. Completed work includes restoration of the vast hardscape on the upper level, installation of 19 historic lampposts, new bronze of Dante Alighieri, restoration of upper fountain, the Garbo balustrade and installation of permanent irrigation on both the upper and lower levels.
Discovery of the original plans of a Pantheon structure that was not completed is in the planning stage with a statue of Galileo, plaques honoring 100 famous Italians and additional monikers of cultural figures.
Opera in the Italian Garden
In 2008, the free popular, July annual concert “Opera in the Italian Garden” in the Renaissance garden was revived for the public, bringing back the original concerts in the garden during the 1940’s. Famous music from well known operas with Opera Circle opera company.
2016 concert: Free – July 31 – 6:00-7:30 pm. 990 East Blvd. Upper Level Italian Garden . Family friendly. Bring a picnic! Wood fired pizza and Italian gelato. Free wine tastings. 250 chairs, but bring your own as 2,173 attended in 2015. Parking in Michael White School lot across from the garden or on East Blvd.
Tax deductible donations for the ongoing restoration may be sent to:
Italian Cultural Garden Foundation
1284 SOM Center Rd. # 316
Cleveland, OH 44124