The legendary Villa Grock in Imperia town
Commissioned and then inhabited by the famous Swiss clown Adrian Wettach, universally known as Grock and acknowledged inventor of the most melancholic and amusing character in circus art, the sumptuous “Villa Bianca” - as its owner named it after his daughter - is surrounded by an oriental-style park and is a wonderful example of Art Nouveau architecture, with Persian, Baroque and Rococo elements, underlining the great clown's artistic and imaginative spirit.
Beyond the gate
In order to reach Villa Grock by car, you have to exit at Imperia town Est. The park is located at 38 Via Fanny Roncati Carli. Passing through the entrance gates is like entering a dream world. Architectural elements recalling circus symbolism are placed in the garden: the clown balls, the small temple, the cornucopia and then the party area and the music hall ceilings painted by Grock himself. Also worth seeing is a beautiful fountain of youth and a balustrade with clown masks.
The magical pronaos at the entrance to the garden, with a ceiling decoration, is the projection of the owner's astrological and astronomical research. The park is equipped with significant hydraulic installations with a closed-circuit system considered avant-garde at the time, starting with the extraordinary fountain with its intricate water features located at the end of the main avenue and connected to the pond below. On its central islet, joined by an oriental-inspired bridge, stands a gloriette with an imposing dome.
Towards the Museum of the Olive Tree
The third leg of the tour continues to the famous “Carli” Museum of the Olive Tree, at 13 Via Garessio, one and a half kilometres from the Villa. Dedicated to this thousand-year-old tree and to the precious green gold obtained from it, the museum is housed in a refined Art Nouveau building, next to the factory, in a garden rich in history. There are many curiosities to discover in the rooms of the museum. But before you leave, don't forget to buy a tasty treat.