In 1875, Michel Louis Ormond, the Swiss manager of a cigar factory in Vevey, a politician and an admirer of history and art, became the owner of Villa Rambaldi on a large estate in the eastern part of Sanremo. Following his marriage to French poet Marie Margherite Renet in Paris in 1866, and due to his wife's failing health, Ormond decided to locate a residence on the Riviera.
On 25 February 1887, a violent earthquake struck western Liguria, and the Ormonds' home suffered severe damage. As a result, the Helvetic family decided to commission a new building, which, two years later, in 1889, took the form of the elegant Villa Ormond, designed by Swiss architect Emile Rèverdin, the creator of the Geneva Opera House and numerous villas of high Swiss lineage.
During the time the Ormonds lived in the villa, they hosted illustrious personalities such as the Princes of Prussia, the Duke of Aosta and the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. With the death first of Michel Louis Ormond (1901) and then of Marie Margherite (1925), the property was put up for sale and the Municipality of Sanremo bought it in 1930 for three million lire. Later, thanks to the then mayor Pietro Agosti, the park was opened to the public and, based on his design, a large fountain and exhibition pavilion were built. Today, one wing of the villa houses the International Institute of Humanitarian Law; in addition, the villa is often used as a venue for international flower shows and tourist events.