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A DREAM THAT BEGAN OVER FORTY YEARS AGO:
PLANTING A BOTANICAL GARDEN
AMONG THE TUNNELS AND CAVERNS
OF FAVIGNANA’S ANCIENT STONE CAVES,
WHICH TODAY HAS BECOME A GIGANTIC EDEN.

Quote from supplement n°407 by AD

GIARDINO DELL_IMPOSSIBILE - LOGO-non reattivo-01

AT THAT TIME, EVERYONE TOLD HER
THAT NOTHING WOULD HAVE GROWN ON THE ISLAND:
THAT IS WHY SHE CALLED HER BOTANICAL GARDEN,
THE GARDEN OF THE IMPOSSIBLE.

Quote from supplement n°407 by AD
Man has always had strong bonds with the land, seeking shelter in its caves, drawing minerals and building materials from it, not always preserving the environment and the treasure of its subsoil. When the rocks built over centuries of geological events allow themselves to be used for construction purposes, here we find him at work, cutting, digging, carrying stones on his arms, that will become places, churches, fortresses or just small walls. As in the case of Sicilian tuff caves, known as “pirrere”, where the compact calcarenite rock was reduced into blocks of various sizes. The masters quarrymen (i pirriaturi) have changed the landscape, thanks to the aid of simple hand tools, leaving extended chasms into the soil, as in the case of open air caves, or a maze of tunnels, culverts and other areas as in the case of caves in grotto.
In Favignana, where visitors can still enjoy the sight, thanks to a low urbanization of a series of suggestive “pirrere”, the bond between men and land finds great evidence.
Their recovery, therefore, plays a particular and necessary role to restore and promote the knowledge of places full of history, which are dear to the memory of people from Favignana.
Through an intervention, which began in 2001 with the reclamation of Villa Margherita caves, I tried, in contrast to all the dissenting opinions of those who told me that it would have been impossible to let anything take root among these infertile and hostile areas, an operation of requalification, not only of what had been materially abandoned in the territory from past generations, but also of the historical heritage left by the “pirriaturi”, which is evidence of a social life, different from ours, experienced under the sign of an ingenious industriousness, fascinated by the charm of the excavations, now shapeless and geometrically made.
Simple itineraries initially undefined have been thought for a convenient use of the spaces, through significant natural environments, previously ignored.

During the reclamation works many evocative glimpses, which allow to clearly decoding the work of “the pirriaturi” have come out, such as the traces of several cutting systems in the various mining periods.
In addition to the big open air cave, cut by mechanical means and which dates back to the years 1950/60, even more interesting are the tunnel and grotto caves, dating back to 700’s and 800’s, which best represent the various types of mining.
I am sure that the knowledge of these special places and their uniqueness can help to increase the appreciation for the Island of Favignana, already known and loved for the beauty of its sea and shores.
My caves, which have been open to guided tours, thanks to unanimous approvals and their extrinsic ability to elicit emotional involvement have now received a due recognition.

On December 14, 2010, “the Hypogeum Gardens of Villa Margherita” were inscribed on the R.E.I.L Book of Expressions, Egadi Islands, as they represent a high expression of the world cultural heritage.

To me this is the best provision to continue the work of spreading, also undertaken in memory of my father who during his youth was also a tuff quarryman.

Maria Gabriella Campo

 

GIARDINO IPOGEO-reil-ridotto-OMBRA

 

THE MAP OF THE GARDEN

guestbook

BOOK YOUR TOUR NOW*

*guided tour by authorized personnel, for a fee.

Open: every day (from May to October)
Bookings: compulsory
Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes on foot
Route Difficulty: none
Minimum group: 2 people
Transport from Favignana center: Bus “line 1” with a stop at about 300 meters. from the site

For information and reservations you can contact us at 389 8048028
or write to info@villamargherita.it