We had decided to start this article with a meaningful phrase of a great writer, but in this way we would have “vinto a mani basse” (literally won hands down) that we would have easily won by capturing your attention right away. Upon reflection, however, it is precisely the phrase that makes perfectly what the people of Palermo (Palermitans), despite the flaws, they feel for their City and that well describes the Villa to which we dedicate this article.
J.W. Goethe called Villa Giulia “the most beautiful corner on earth“, where he read Homer during his visits to Palermo. The Villa Giulia is one of our magnificent public gardens, built between 1775 and 1778, expanded in 1866, at the behest the Praetor and the Governor of the City A. La Grua.
The Villa, which took its name from an Aragonese Princess, has a perfectly square perimeter and two main entrances. One overlooking the sea, which is no longer active, consisting of a large portico supported by four Doric columns and protected by two powerful lions. The other entrance, which today is the only active access, is the “Porta Reale” within walking distance from the Botanical Gardens.
Entering into garden you are completly surrounded the labyrinth of boulevards and paths where you can discover a multitude of Statues of famous men in the Sciences, Arts and Culture. Among the most important statues it rises up from a fountain, one of the seven statues of the Genius of Palermo, majestic protector of the City, surrounded by symbols of power, loyalty, abundance and the Trinacria symbol of Sicily.
For the Sicilian the Trinacria is a lucky talisman
Walking through the paths and discovering the secrets of the garden you reach a central space, teather of 4 pompeian Exedras that harmoniously surround a figure of child who holds the dodecahedron that evokes the time with a sundial on each of the 12 faces.
Time is a recurring concept in different spaces of the garden!
There is a small hill where you can see the remains of a sundial and it’s the perfect place to enjoy the green area.
Until the 80s the Villa Giulia was the home of some animals such as monkeys, exotic birds and especially a Lion, dearly called Ciccio by Palermitans. It was a real star Leo Ciccio, famous throughout Palermo, able to attract children and adults enthralled by its uniqueness.
After a dive in the past, returning to the present time unfortunately the status of the Villa does not do it justice! The heritage of historical and artistic value of the Villa is not enhanced. The sculptures is deteriorating and it would need an urgent restoration that gives back the full splendor of the past.
Nevertheless, the Villa Giulia is a magical place! A place to get lost among the boulevards and discover hidden meanings, walk in silence looking for the inspiration and read a good book sitting under a large leafy tree.
If you are in Palermo you can not spend a sunny morning in this green area!
For these reasons, we have dedicated a space on our homepage to the Villa Giulia, with two photographs that inspire us and remind us of the love for our land.