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The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is committed to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education. A permanent collection of nearly 5,000 works of art on a riverfront campus offers more than 95,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities.

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Italian Garden



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.

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