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    Photo: Giardini del Merlo
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Giardini del Merlo Dongo

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Il Giardino del Merlo is a botanical garden filled with exotic plants, bridges and tunnels, created on the steep rocks below the church of St. Euphemia from Musso. This park lies at the foot of a castle, now in ruins, linked to the name of Gian Giacomo Medici di Marignano, called "the Meneghino" who conquered it in 1522 and for ten years made it his headquarters when - as described by Cesare Cantu - pirate king, robber, traitor, rebel, murderer, hero, ruled the lake unchallenged. In the mid-nineteenth century John Manzi wanted to create a park that was inspired by the gardens of the Italian Riviera, developed on steep terrain. Manzi, between 1853 and 1883, took advantage of the terrain with a slope facing south and one north to create a place where visionary dominate the contrasts, from the lush greenery and Mediterranean varieties typical of the Alps and in a succession of walkways, bridges, caves, gorges and small waterfalls.