Garden of Eden, the Orto Botanico, founded by the University of Palermo at the end of the 19th century, is today among the largest in Europe, rich in rare and exotic species, including a record-breaking Ficus.
The first Botanical Garden of Palermo dates back to 1779, the year in which the Royal Academy of Studies, the current University, was created.
Soon, however, more space was needed and so starting from 1789 the Garden moved to its current location. The project was entrusted to the most famous architects of the time including the Frenchman Lèon Dufourny, who was in Sicily to study the Greek monuments, by which he was influenced for his design.
He was responsible for the first nucleus of the garden, including the Central Avenue and the Avenue of the Palms and most of the monumental buildings, such as the Gymnasium, the Tepidarium and the Calidarium, which were decorated by important artists of the time, including the painter Giuseppe Velasco and the sculptors Gaspare Ferriolo and Vitale Tuccio.
The Garden had an enormous collection of plants from all continents, which made it, thanks to its climate which also allowed the growth of exotic species, the point of reference for botanical gardens throughout Europe.
Today there are many truly unique plants that it houses, such as the gigantic Ficus Macrophylla which, with an extension of 3,000 m2, is the largest tree in Europe.
Inside the Botanical Garden, there is also Talea, a bistro café surrounded by greenery, located right in front of the suggestive Gymnasium, where you can sip a coffee or an aperitif among imperial palms and rare tropical species.
Even today the Botanical Garden is a point of reference for the preservation of the biodiversity of various species, such as historical citrus fruits and in particular the mandarin, introduced from the countries of origin right from the Garden and subsequently spread in cultivation throughout Sicily.
Via Lincoln 2
Tel. +39 091 23891236
Entrance: full price 7 euros, reduced 4 euros