Written by Kiani Ned, Marketing & Curatorial Intern
It is thought that the Cummers’ trip to Italy in 1930 inspired Mrs. Cummer to create the Italian garden that is now such an integral part of the Cummer Museum and Gardens. While in Italy, the Cummers visited the Villa Gamberaia that is located just outside of Florence. Mrs. Cummer had a love for Italian ornaments and the appreciation for classical details is seen throughout the sculptural ornamentation that is present in the Italian garden.
The three-tiered water fountain that rests at the center of the Italian garden creates a spirit of traditionalism as it provides the presence of water that is essential to traditional Italian gardening. The fountain that is now the centerpiece of the garden is an exact replica of the original from Italy that began to crumble from water damage because of its porous material. This one is much stronger and its less porous marble is more durable than that of the original.
The Italian fountain is the heart of the Italian garden reminds all who view it, and are inevitably affected by its charm, that the Cummer gardens are a place of serenity and escape from the world that lies outside of the front doors of the museum and beyond the St. Johns River.