How to reach
From Messina: Highway A18 direction Catania, exit Gravina. Continue towards Mascalucia Etna, At the roundabout turn on left in Corso San Vito and after about 800mt turn on right in Corso Raffaello, that lead to Trinity Church. On its right there is the gate of the villa.
Magnificent testimonies of an ancient past nearly always come to light in Sicily, when you dig beneath the surface.
The Villa Trinità Garden, located on the slopes of Etna, has been laid out on top of the stratified remains of the Hellenistic civilization followed by that of Imperial Rome, fragments of which emerge from the terrain to provide colour and striking elements in the garden.
Way back in 1382, lava covered everything, preserving beneath its vast mantle many treasures of the past, some of which were unearthed when the new generations broke up the stone to plant vines.
Today, Salvatore Bonajuto, the owner of Villa Trinità and an agronomist and landscape architect, has created a garden extending over about three hectares, respecting and enhancing the numerous traces of the past still evident: the stone walkways known as rasule, the handmade irrigation channels called saje and, of course, the lava rock which is the protagonist of the whole garden.
The intricate layout of the saje system, which fascinates visitors and invites children to play, strongly characterizes the landscape, while the sound of the water accompanies guests on their tour of the garden, like the melodic voice of a guide.
The citrus grove that is still watered using this traditional method and the vineyard where antique local grape varieties are cultivated, provide the setting for a collection of plants from numerous tropical countries, forming a garden within a garden: in Sicily, an ornamental garden consists also of a citrus grove and villa.
Strolling through the grounds, where there are always new surprises round every corner, you can admire a large collection of palms, succulents, irises and exotic fruit bushes. The collection of citrus trees, which the owners have just started to build, was also a “must”, like the large area planted with Mediterranean maquis dominated by a majestic and ancient European Nettle Tree, known locally as a spaccasassi, or “stonebreaker”, which is a unique specimen.
Among the areas of naturalistic interest is a pocket of land where downy oak grows wild, a species that, in the distant past, took over the “Etna woods” that have since disappeared; and a natural lava basin that collects rainwater, creating a vital “watering place” for cranes migrating southwards.