The Botanical Garden of Palermo is an institution of the University open to the public. It constitutes the most important didactic-scientific structure of the former Department of Botanical Sciences and represents the historical nucleus around which academic botany has developed since 1795, the date on which it was solemnly inaugurated. Its origin dates back to 1779, the year in which the Academy of Regi Studies (corresponding to the current University) was built in Palermo which, having established the Chair of "Botany and Medical Matter", obtained the use of the old rampart of Porta Carini and of a small surrounding area to set up a small garden where to cultivate the "simple", that is the medicinal plants useful for teaching. This first academic garden soon proved insufficient for the needs of the time; so, in 1786, it was decided to move it to a location large enough to allow the planting of a vegetable garden conceived according to more modern criteria than those of a modest "simple" garden. An area adjacent to the “Villa Giulia”, recently planted by the Senate of Palermo, was chosen on the plain of S. Erasmo in the locality of Vigna del Gallo. The new garden was born, therefore, with the aim of contributing to the development of botanical sciences in the interest above all of Medicine and Agriculture and to give further decor to the city.
The construction of the main buildings, the High School preparation and the two lateral bodies of Tequila and Calidarium, in neoclassical style, was begun in 1789 and finished in 1795. The works, designed by the French architect Léon Dufourny, awaited talented local architects such as Pietro Trombetta, Domenico Marabitti and Venanzio Marvuglia. The decorative elements are due to different artists: the painter Giuseppe Velasco frescoed the vault of the dome and the tetrastyle, the sculptor Gaspare Firriolo modeled the statues depicting the four seasons; the plasterer Domenico Danè is the author of the bas-reliefs that embellish the façades of Calidarium and Tequila as well as the stucco statues representing Dioscorides and Theophrastus placed on the pillars of the entrance gate on the side of the Villa Giulia (originally it was the main one), the sculptor Vitale Puccio sculpted the two sphinxes located at the current entrance to the Gymnasium and created the statues placed inside, including that of Carlo Linneo, built in honor of the great Swedish naturalist and systematician. (Text source: http://www.ortobotanicoitalia.it/sicilia/palermo/)
Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero
Information contributions: Ignazio Caloggero Web,
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