By Bianca Askevold, Marketing Intern
The Italian Garden was designed in 1931, after Ninah Cummer had seen the gardens of the Villa Gamberaia. Ellen Biddle Shipman designed the garden to look very similar to the one Mrs. Cummer had seen, and it is one of the few Shipman gardens that is still around today. The layout of the garden highly resembles the original located right outside of Florence, Italy. Shipman was inspired by elements such as the series of arches and the ponds, and included them in the design. Also, leonine sculpture is featured in both gardens. The Lion sculpture in the museum’s garden was actually purchased in Italy by the Cummers in 1930, along with a fountain, which the current one is a replica of. The feet of the marble benches in the garden are decorative lions, and the arms of the chairs are lion’s heads. Both continue the leonine theme. The garden is partially shaded by the beautiful Cummer Oak and has a stunning view of the St. Johns River past the twin ponds and through the ficus-covered gloriette, creating an enchanting experience for the viewer.