Have you ever hiked the couple miles up the Hollywood Hiking Train in Griffith Park to Dante’s View and wondered – who is Dante and why is this his view? We have.
Some seventy hikers trecked up to the view last Sunday, Nov 9th, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dante Orgaolini, the creator and namesake of the garden atop the Hollywood Hills. The hike was organized and led by Councilmember LaBonge, The Friends of Dante’s View, Hollywood Heritage, and many members of the Orgolini family.
According to Councilman LaBonge’s office, Dante Orgolini was a Brazilian journalist and artist who came to the U.S. in 1926 to pursue a degree in art at Boston University. He quickly settled into life as a journalist for Brazil’s popular A Noite newspaper covering Hollywood filmmakers and leading movie stars of the period.
During the years he raised his young family in Los Feliz, Orgolini discovered Griffith Park. Hiking every trail and promontory soon became a cherished pastime for him and exploring the vast terrain of the park gave him a profound understanding of the importance of this natural area with its spectacular views above the ever-expanding city. From these early days, armed with only a pick and shovel he had brought from home, and the help of fellow hikers and park rangers, Dante carved out the mountainside garden that still stands today.
Though three quarters of the garden was severely ravaged by fire in 2007, the area is still be tended to by private supporters, including Councilman LaBonge and the Friends of Dante’s View, as seen on Sunday with the planting of a large tree on the once-shady, now needy space. “We’ve taken over care of Dante’s View after the fire,” LaBonge told the Larchmont Buzz. “I stand behind those who get their feet dirty and do the tough work like replanting and maintaining this special spot.” LaBonge said he hopes to get more water to the area so that the flora can flourish there once again.