Gardens of Palermo: Villa Garibaldi & Villa Bonanno

Welcome back to Palermonday! This week we’re moving on the gardens of Palermo.

Palermo once had so many public gardens and parks, it was known as the “Garden City.” Cherrye and I only got to see two of them as discussed below, but you can read about the other gardens here and here.

Villa Garibaldi was very close to where we stayed near the end of Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the harbor. It was designed by architect Giovan Battista Filippo Basile between 1861 and 1864 in Piazza Marina, which had been used for Aragonese weddings, victory celebrations, and, unfortunately, public executions.

Villa Garibaldi, Palermo, Sicily on Flickr

Nearby is Palazzo Chiaramonte (the seat of Palermo University), Palazzo Galletti, Palazzo Villarosa, the Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli, and Palazzo Fatta. There is also a free theater (Teatro Libero) in the square.

The gardens surrounding Villa Garibaldi are definitely intriguing, partially because the area always seemed kind of dark even in sunlight. There were always plenty of people, though, even a photo shoot for some kind of family celebration and lots of dogwalkers (and dogs, of course).

Some of the most interesting features inside the park are the exotic plants, in particular the Ficus magnoliodes–creepy as all get out and one of the largest in Italy.

Ficus magnolioides, Villa Garibaldi, Palermo, Sicily on Flickr

Also in Villa Garabaldi is a memorial for Joe Petrosino, the NY police officer who was killed in Piazza Marina while in Palermo fighting organized crime; we saw the memorial on our way to the hotel the first day, but I forgot to go back and take a photo. This one will have to do until I get back there.

The other gardens we visited briefly were at Villa Bonanno in the middle of the city, not too far from the Porta Nuova. Villa Bonanno is behind Palazzo dei Normanni and the gardens’ main attraction is an enormous statue of Philip V of the House of Bourbon.

Villa Bonanno, Palermo, Sicily on Flickr

Honestly, Cherrye and I *could have* seen more of Villa Bonanno, but we were tuckered out by that point and used the fabulous scenery, e.g.,

View from Villa Bonanno, Palermo, Sicily on Flickr

as a backdrop for our afternoon riposo before we took on the famed Capuchin Catacombs . . . which I’ll tell you all about next Palermonday!

16 Beans of Wisdom to “Gardens of Palermo: Villa Garibaldi & Villa Bonanno”
  1. Gil

    The desire for a future trip to Sicily is really starting to grow on me by now. When my wife and I visited our daughter in Italy we made a whirlwind trip to Sicily to see where my Maternal grandparents came from and visited a couple of ruins all over two days. Will be back reading about your adventures in a few weeks.

    Buon viaggio Gil! Lots of Sicilian suggestions from me if you want ’em 😉

  2. Belle foto!

    I really can’t wait to visit Sicily. One of my good friends here was born on Palermo. Though he grew up in Milan he has a lot of family there and promised to show me around. Depending on my finances maybe a trip this fall is in order.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..I HATE penalty kicks!

    Lucky you! I think it would be great in the fall…definitely try to skip the really hot months! Can’t wait to read about the trip 🙂

  3. 06.23.2008

    That is an interesting ficus!

    Homebody at Heart’s last blog post..Italian in 10 words a day , soccer 🙁

    Creepy too!

  4. Joanne at frutto della passione

    Is it just me or has it been a long time since the last Palermonday?
    Good to see it back. We loved Palermo. Who knows when we’ll get back.

    Joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..Of all the things to make the crossing

    Seems like it’s been a long time to me too! Really we just skipped a Monday for the guest blogger. Don’t worry though–there will be at least one more Palermonday, possibly two….

  5. 06.23.2008

    Interesting gardens, and one more reason to visit Palermo. I had the idea that Palermo was dryer, like southern California, but these gardens are green and lush…

    Beatriz’s last blog post..La cucina di Nicola: Panna Cotta

    These photos were taken in February, so it may be that things were more lush than than now…although they probably keep up these gardens with plenty of water as well.

  6. 06.23.2008

    Great picture of the ficus! It would definitely give me the creeps to play hide and seek among those plants.

    milanesemasala’s last blog post..It’s all my fault, ragazzi!

    I can’t tell you just how enormous these things are in person too…*so* creepy!

  7. 06.23.2008

    How wonderful! I’d love one day to visit Sicily.

    Musing’s last blog post..The winner, a game, and Johnny Depp is hot

    Highly recommended!

  8. 06.23.2008

    Nice gardens. Those trees are pretty creepy. I swear I have seen them in a movie…maybe Sleepy Hollow or something 😉

    My Mélange’s last blog post..Sangria

    Could be Robin! They’re definitely creepy enough for Sleepy Hollow 😉

  9. Looks beautiful! I so need to get my butt to Palermo one of these days!

    JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen’s last blog post..A Midsummer Night’s Dream Dinner

    Yes yes! Do it Jenn!

  10. 06.23.2008

    Those Ficus trees are a bit creepy. They look like the trees in the Wizard of Oz that suddenly spring to life!

    Anali’s last blog post..Granola For Breakfast

    I have to admit that standing under them, I could definitely envision nightmares of them wrapping their branches around me….

  11. 06.23.2008

    Yes, I love those ‘creepy trees’ too they look like the ones in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ that pull up their roots and walk into battle!

    amanda’s last blog post..Spellbound.

    Ooh yes, they’d be great in battle too!

  12. 06.24.2008

    That is one crazy tree! Great pictures, sognatrice!

    Lara’s last blog post..More Qs for your As

    Thanks Lara 🙂

  13. Ciao bella 🙂
    I had to leave a “bean of wisdom” when I read the name Garibaldi! I had a great receipe given to me by my uncle for Garibaldi biscuits/cookies…. named after none other than the general Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807 – 1882), who liked to eat these when he came to the UK.
    The dates when the villa was designed coincide with his dates, so I was wondering was it built for him of one of his relatives?
    speak soon

    Erika of SWEET PEA Blog’s last blog post..ASPARAGUS VANILLA BEAN SOUP

    Yes Erika, these public gardens were named for none other than Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italian national hero; he has many, many streets, squares, etc. named for him as well 🙂

  14. 06.24.2008

    Again, lovely pictures and great description. I really want to visit Palermo now. I hope you had a lovely time with your mother!

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..RIP Sunshine: May 2006 – June 23, 2008

    Still enjoying the time with Mom, Jen…she’s here for another 10 days 🙂

  15. 06.26.2008

    That tree IS creepy beyond all get out! HA! That’s so funny.
    What a lovely place… thank you for bringing us there!

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    Wanderlust Scarlett’s last blog post..Slipping Away

    As always, my pleasure 🙂

  16. 06.27.2008

    those tree trunks are amazing!

    AscenderRisesAbove’s last blog post..Ancient Wisdom; Illuminated Tile

    So glad you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by 🙂

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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