August 03, 2012

Mark Bourne, Little Italy

pictures (except the last two) courtesy of John Smith from his 

Unmistakably a replica of the leaning tower of Pisa, Italy, this singular architecture can be seen in a garden in the community of Corris, Wales, UK.

Life and works 

Chicken farmer and caravan site owner Mark Bourne (1922?-2009) had a strong love for Italy.  

With his wife he would spend there many a holiday, making pictures of the numerous architectural monuments in this country.

Around 1980 he began making replicas of these classics, which he displayed in the reclining, terraced garden near his house. 

He made these creations by applying cement to a model, made from iron wire and redundant materials like old oil drums, aggravating the base with stones. collected in a nearby river bed.

Ultimately the site had some thirty items, including Pisa's tower, the Rialto Bridge in Venice, the Milan Duomo and Sienna's Bell Tower. The highest creations had a height of some 2.5 meters (8.2 feet).

Around 2001 the site got some nationwide publicity in the printed press and on tv, and the narrow paths of the garden would regularly be accessed by touristic visitors.

Actual situation

Mark Bourne died in 2009. 

His wife sold the property, according to one source to a local artist. It remains to be seen what the future will be of this outsider environment.

In august 2019 the Frechman using the artist name Tiramisu Bootfighter -who travels through various countries in Europe in the context of his project La Valise - Galerie Ambulante- visited the site (project La Grande-Bretagne Insolite).

The photos below show that the site at that time still was extant.

above two pictures courtesy of Tiramisu Bootfighter
(click to enlarge)

Documentation/more pictures 
* Weblog The Side Real Press Blog , February 21, 2012
* Weblog Digital Humanities Centre, October 30, 2012
* A series of pictures (2007) by Tim Dunn on Flickr
* Article (January 2016) on the weblog of Elizabeth Jane Corbett

first published aug 2012, last revised aug 2019

Mark Bourne
Little Italy
Corris, Wales, United Kingdom
in august 2019 the site still existed, but formally it could not be visited 


  1. De retour de vacances me voici de nouveau sur votre blog !
    Bravo !
    Grâce à vous j'ai pu visiter une maison recouverte de coquillages au sud de l'Irlande .
    Merci !
    A bientôt
    Sophie (des Grigris)

  2. Bonjour Sophie, Bienvenue chez vous après de belles vacances! @ bientôt, Henk