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Art & Culture

Perfumes, scents and colours. Six gardens in Southern Italy you should visit

Enjoy the finest Southern Italian gardens and discover all the colours, scents and landscapes of Italy. Parks, botanical gardens and mazes for lovers of nature and culture. Six not-to-be-missed places.

If we were to define Southern Italy in a painting, it would be rich in colours, food and nature. This is how we imagine it to be and how it actually is for the people who live there: the scents of Sicily, the flavours of Puglia, the wild nature of Sardinia and so forth are a dream lived from afar as well as a unique reality lived by local people. Discover magnificent gardens, parks and botanical sites.

1. Giardini della Minerva, an ancient Giardino dei Semplici in the heart of Salerno for a truly relaxing day

Campania
Giardini della Minerva - Salerno, Campania

"Nature has already created everything you could possibly imagine" and it can be found in the Giardini della Minerva

Home to 277 different plant species, the garden offers guided historical visits, educational workshops and tastings of its own herbal teas made from aromatic plants and organic spices, all to be enjoyed while also reading a fine book chosen from the Garden's official library. Located on the city's ancient walls, the garden offers a unique, broad view of the sea, the historic centre and the hills of Salerno. 

2. La Cutura Botanical Garden - a succulent collection!

Apulia
Giardino Botanico La Cutura - Giuggianello, Puglia

 

For admirers of succulent plants, as well as people who travel to Salento on holiday keen to discover unusual and hidden corners, La Cutura, with its restaurant serving typical Apulian cuisine and the chance to join guided tours, is an unmissable garden where visitors can discover the beauty of nature in complete safety! La Cutura Botanical Garden is home to a large collection of rare succulent, tropical and sub-tropical plants. The site also boasts a natural pond, the Italian Garden, the Giardino dei Semplici with its aromatic and medicinal herbs and a centuries-old wood of holm oaks, one of the few of its kind still surviving in Salento. Another marvel awaits visitors for an amazing tour - the Secret Garden hidden deep in an evocative stone quarry.

 

3. Garibaldi Compendium, for a trip around the island of Caprera

Sardinia
Isola di Caprera - Sardegna

Standing in the crystal clear waters surrounding the island of Caprera against the splendid natural scenery of the La Maddalena archipelago, the Garibaldi Compendium is home to one of the least-known yet most original gardens in Italy, a place of refuge for Garibaldi who precisely here gave life to his own farm. The Garibaldi Compendium is characterized by typical Mediterranean bush: the olives and monumental trees associated with the life of this Italian hero are also joined by myrtles, strawberry trees (arbutus) and junipers. It is possible to visit the Memorial, a museum dedicated to the hero of two worlds, just 4 km from the Compendium. 

4. Parco della Favorita, the green haven of Palermo

Sicily
Parco della Favorita - Palermo, Sicilia

Parco della Favorita is the largest park in the city of Palermo and an ideal destination for everyone looking for a break immersed in nature, strolling around an immense park! Considered the green haven of Palermo, it is home to authentic jewels, such as the famous "Casina Cinese" commissioned by the Bourbons at the end of the XVIII century. This huge garden has a large English lawn, small copses, fountains, spaces for children, dog-friendly areas and specific facilities for outdoor sports. A marvellous place for relaxation for families, couples or friends immersed in the greenery of nature.

5. La Mortella: a creative garden with subtropical features on the island of the Sun God

Ischia
La Mortella - Ischia, Campania

Australia, South Africa and Mexico are just some of the places of origin of the 3,000 plant species populating this unique botanical garden. La Mortella is a concert of colours, perfumes and sensations that leave visitors speechless, especially in such a special context as the Campania archipelago - and the island of Ischia in particular. Rare plants and plant species from all over the world ensure that this park is a not-to-be-missed experience.

The garden was created by Susana Walton - wife of English musician William Walton - and is crossed by paths, steps and short routes that allow visitors to explore it in all its beauty. Fountains, ponds and streams enhance the already wonderful variety of natural history found inside the garden, while also giving way to three tropical greenhouses and the Thai House, a perfect oriental-style place of meditation decorated with lotus flowers, peonies, bamboo and Japanese maples. A creative garden populated by numerous items of architecture such as the Greek Theatre, the Crocodile Waterfall, the Nymphaeum and William's Rock. An exotic experience that is truly worth living at least once in a lifetime. 

Find out more: https://www.gardenrouteitalia.it/gr_offers/la-mortella/

6. Giardino San Giuliano: a blend between the beauty of Sicilian traditions and an exotic and tropical style

Sicily

Owned by the Marquises of San Giuliano, this exotic park comprising more than 60 hectares of orange groves between Catania and Syracuse is a delight for the eyes and soul alike. The aromatic garden has fragrant plants such as lavender, thyme and sage, while the tropical garden boasts palm trees, cacti and succulents; the Arab garden has pools and water lilies and the Mediterranean garden is replete with roses and grapefruit. They all combine together to build an intoxicating and characteristic sensory experience. Areas of tropical jungle alternate with aromatic paths with more delicate features as we then come across the orange groves opening like the curtain of a natural stage to offer a breath-taking view of Etna. 

Find out more: https://www.gardenrouteitalia.it/gr_offers/giardino-di-san-giuliano/

In collaboration with Garden Route Italia, the official guide to Italian Gardens. An invitation to travel through time and space with more than 30 itineraries  https://www.gardenrouteitalia.it/