Venice’s Royal Gardens are to be restored to their former glory in a project funded by the Italian culture ministry and Generali insurance company.

Five million euro have been earmarked to revamp bridge access to the neglected gardens close to St. Mark’s Square, as well as opening a café and other amenities. Work will begin this month and continue until spring 2018.

Adele Re Rebaudengo, president of the Venice Gardens Foundation, commented, “The restoration of the Royal Gardens is the first project our foundation has undertaken. We are proud to launch plans to restore this magical place, much loved by Venetians, to its former splendour and significance.”

CEO Philippe Donnete of Assicurazioni Generali, which has donated 2.5 million using the Italian tax break program Art Bonus, said, “The time has come to rediscover our roots and to revive our presence in this city. The Royal Gardens are the first step.”

Venice’s Royal Gardens date to the early nineteenth century when Napoleon introduced his plans for the city. Architect Giovanni Antolini was commissioned to design the royal palace and its gardens, which face south over St. Mark’s Basin, with a series of classical Italian decorative features. The distinctive wrought iron pergola, greenhouse, coffee house and drawbridge were all added at a later date.