July 05, 2024

Emilio Billegi, Giardino delle sculture / Sculpture garden

all images (July 2023) from Google Streetview

The small hamlet of Leggiana with sixty inhabitants in the 2001 census, is located in central Italy at an altitude of more than 500 meters. 

It is crossed by the Strada Statale (national highway) No. 77 and along that road, visible to passers-by, is a sculpture garden.

Life and works

This garden is a creation of Ermilio Billegi, who died in 2018 at the age of 94. In all likelihood, his wife Antonia has also died, but at first glance the garden in July 2023 was still in good condition

Born in 1924, Billegie was in the early 1940s, when Italy was entering World War II, at such an age that he had to participate in the war as a soldier.

In that situation he suffered such an injury that he was no longer able to work for the rest of his life and was financially dependent on war benefits.

There is no documentation available regarding the year in which Billegi settled in Leggiana with his wife or when he started decorating the garden along the street in front of the house.

The art environment is particularly characterized by a multitude of concrete sculptures, including many that depict animals, such as a goose on a fountain (as in the image above right), a rooster (as in the image below), but also  a dog, a duck, a snail, storks, horses and a giraffe.

A special creation, which is generally not found in art environments, is a horizontal map of Italy contained in a white-stone border line, depicted in the image above left       

As the image at the very top and the one below show, the garden also includes sculptures of people, including Adam and Eve, and also, in the form of a bust, portraits of the Billegi couple.

The garden also features sculptures of celestial bodies, such as the five-pointed star below, and a sculpture of a moon elsewhere in the garden.

Article by Giada Carraro on her website Bric-a-Brac Italia. (To my knowledge, this article is the only documentation available about this art environment, so I would like to mention that the text above is based on the information provided in this article)

Emilio Billegi

Sculpture garden

10 Strada Statale 77 della Val di Chienti

Leggiana, hamlet in the city of Foligno, dept. Perugia, region Umbria, Italy

can be seen from the road

Google Streetview, July 2023

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