A living museum within steps of Palermo's seafront promenade
Palermo's Botanic Garden has been the pride and joy of the Sicilian capital ever since 1787 when the then viceroy, seconding the request of a pool of eminent academics, commissioned a group of ''Italian and French architects to create a magnificent garden in the heart of the city. The result, a neoclassical masterpiece''' complete with Gymnasium, Tiepidarium and Caldarium, can still be seen to this very day.
The oldest part of the garden has recently been painstakingly restored, giving today's visitors, like those of centuries past, the chance to stroll along ancient avenues, lined with plants originating from all four corners of the globe.
Palermo's Botanic Garden is one of the most important in Europe. It was here that innovative experiments, such as the introduction of the Japanese medlar fruit and mandarin, were successfully made
Gardening by numbers
Palermo's botanical gardens are now over 200 years old, and their 10 hectares are home to a staggering 12.000 plants.
An almost surreal peace envelops this green oasis, located slap bang in the midst of Sicily's sizzling capital. A 15 meter high wood of bamboo, an aquarium comprised of three concentric rings and adorned with floating lotus flowers, 19th century statues, greenhouses and pavilions come together to create an enchanting environment, a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city outside. Don't be surprised if you spot a parrot flitting from one tree to another either: the garden provides the ideal habitat for all kinds of exotic fauna too...
Plants with wow! factor
A plant which has become one of the symbols of the Botanical Garden, is the gigantic, 150 year old Ficus macrophylla, also known as the 'strangler fig', which has aerial roots which extend over circa 1000sqm. Another major attraction, the Araucaria columnaria, originating from New Caledonia, towers some 35 meters above the ground and is by far the tallest tree in the whole of Palermo.
The favorable Mediterranean climate, has allowed the garden's succulents to reach truly impressive dimensions. Other botanical beauties worth noting include fine examples of the African Bottle and Drago trees.
If the visit to the gardens have given you an appetite, pop into the nearby Bar Touring (via Lincoln 15), and experience the explosive taste of the eatery's legendary 'arancini bomba'.
Put it in your diary... (or on your smartphone)
via Lincoln 2 - Palermo
Opening hours: every day from 9.00 (closing time varies according to the season)
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