The Italian Cultural Garden was dedicated in 1930 "as a symbol of the contribution of Italian culture to American democracy." It is designed in a formal Renaissance style with large walkways, balustrades and benches. Two large winding staircases lead down to a brick paved courtyard.
The upper level Renaissance fountain is modeled after the fountain in Villa Medici in Rome, Italy. The staircases and lower level have elements from the Villa d'Este outside Rome. Carved sandstone images representing famous Italian cultural figures in the Arts and Letters and Arts and Science: Giotto, Florentine artist; Michelangelo, Petrarca, Renaissance scholar, poet and humanist; Verdi, operatic composer, Leonardo da Vince and Marconi, Nobel Prize winner and inventor of the wireless telegraphy, grace the lower level.
Virgil the Roman poet and a statue of Dante Alighieri are on the upper level. In 2007, the Italian Cultural Garden Foundation began a $1.2 million restoration; total restoration of the hardscape, two large Renaissance fountains, installation of historic lighting on both levels, benches and memorial balustrade to Philip J. Garbo it's creator and the replanting of the garden in a Renaissance design. Unfinished plans from 1930 call for a Pantheon structure with a center statue of Galileo. Tax deductible donations for the restoration may be sent to: Italian Cultural Garden Foundation - 1284 SOM Center Rd. # 316 - Cleveland, Ohio 44124