Contrada San Giuliano
96010 Villasmundo Melilli (SR)
Tel. +39 0931 1845897
Fax. +39 0931 1845898
Write to the garden
By appointment, booking by phone or e-mail
Guided tours to the garden and tastings for groups (min. 15 people)
Visit to the garden: € 15,00 (Saturday and Sunday € 20,00)
Possibility of aperitifs, lunches and brunches on request
How to reach
A18 Messina-Catania Highway up to the exit Catania and then take the SS114 toward Catania ring road. Continue until the exit of the SS114 towards Siracusa / Ragusa. Drive in direction of Via Santa Rita in Melilli for about 20 km.
Halfway between Catania and Syracuse, the sixty hectare property of the Marquess of San Giuliano at Villasmundo reveals much of the history of a venerable local aristocratic family and the fascination of a Sicilian territory bearing traces of ancient civilisations, with a Bronze Age necropolis and vestiges of Magna Graecia. The whole area was cultivated with citrus orchards until 1974 when four hectares were given over to the garden and the present owner began to plant ornamental trees and shrubs. The garden surrounds the late fifteenth century fortified farmhouse and replaces the massive threshing floor where corn was once winnowed and grapes and olives piled up ready for the production of wine and oil. Subsequently the farm was converted exclusively to citrus orchards and every year from October to May the fertile soil still produces a million kilos of fifteen different varieties of oranges. In the 1990s Oliva di Collabiano was commissioned to design the so-called “Giardinetto” (little garden), divided into four spaces enclosed by dry-stone walls, as well as to landscape the little private cemetery. These four distinct compositions, which take the place of an orchard whilst keeping its original “saie”, the traditional Arabic irrigation channels, include an Arabian garden with ponds and water-lilies; a tropical garden with palms and huge cacti; a Mediterranean garden mingling roses and grapefruit, and finally a scented garden bursting with frothy helichrysum, the liquorice plant, lavender, thyme, sage, cistus, myrtle and other perfumed shrubs. The “Giardinetto”, tended by the head gardener Rachel Lamb, is in full bloom and therefore considered to be at its best between May and June but is almost more fascinating in September-October when it springs back to life after the torrid summer drought to present a harmonious, varied example of a contemporary Sicilian garden.
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