The Italian Cultural Garden, Cleveland’s public monument to Italy in Rockefeller Park, recently completed a $63,000 installation of 7 black granite medallions, 9 ft. in diameter, honoring famous Italians throughout the centuries in the Arts & Letters and Arts & Science. The pavement designs featuring Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Donatello, Bernini, Palladio, and Ovidio circle the large Renaissance fountain. This installation is part of the garden’s ongoing $1.7 million restoration project.
We wish to thank those from the Italian community who have generously helped make the $63,000 pavement design restoration a reality. Our gratitude to Alicia Marotta Linihan and Brian Linihan Family, the LaMantia Family, the NOIA Foundation, the Frank Fantozzi family, the Italian Sons & Daughters of America, and the Thomas family.
The next large restoration will be the Pantheon structure. Through our research obtained from old newspaper microfilm, it was discovered that a Pantheon structure was to be built in 1930 but was never completed. Architectural drawings of the structure depict an open oculus at the top of the dome like the Pantheon in Rome with a glass dome like the Atrium in the Cleveland Museum of Art.
This open structure will be surrounded with columns much like the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. Also like the Jefferson Memorial, Philip Garbo, one of the creators of the garden, stipulated that there be “large marble wall plaques inscribed with 100 names of famous Italian women and men.”
The Pantheon will be surrounded by 60 3-foot-tall granite markers depicting Italian cultural greats in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, chemistry, physics, invention, literature, architecture, sculpting, playwrighting, poetry, painting, and Noble Prize winners. This beautiful structure will be a public, outdoor museum in homage to Italy’s brilliant contributions to Western civilization and will cost $800,000.
The Italian Cultural Garden, the only cultural Renaissance garden in the U.S., continues to honor its mission
from its dedication in 1930 as “a symbol of the contribution of Italian culture to American democracy.”