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Maria Gabriella Campo

…It is an impossible venture, it will only make you spend money and efforts in vain!

Had I listened to all those who gave me this piece of advice, today we wouldn’t have talked about Villa Margherita and its Hypogeum Gardens.
It was a summer of the early 70’s when my husband and I went to live in a prefabricated small house built in a lot of land that we inherited from my father, in a rural area of Favignana, among the most fascinating attractions of the Island: Cala Azzurra and Cala Rossa.
The island, the major one of the Egadi archipelago, that because of its shape we love to call “the butterfly of the sea”, at that time appeared fairly bare and lacking of Mediterranean scrub. It definitely wasn’t the reality of the city to which I was accustomed, and so I would find myself spending most of the time alone, committing myself to carry out household duties, and to a minimum of social life.
Having learned from my mother, the passion for plants, I decided to devote myself to the creation of a small garden with some flowerbed without many

high expectations, which could, however, make that arid and desolate nature more pleasant. So I took on with tenacity the difficult task of letting plants flowering and create a shadow area with Aleppo pines.
After the birth of my two children, driven by the need to build a bigger house, we bought a large neighbouring wasteland, already exploited in open air calcarenite caves, silent and abandoned, true monuments to humane fatigue and archaeological product of the mining industry, which today are being reused as orchards at its best, or as landfills at its worst.
For a pioneer like me who loves nature, creating a green oasis, especially inside the caves, would have meant the greatest challenge I had ever faced until then. So, boosted by the little successes that I nevertheless had obtained with so much effort, I was able to talk to the different nature of Favignana, letting several kinds of plants take root (up to today 300 species from around the world) in a very scarce fertile land, which today is the main core of Villa Margherita park, with its equipped houses for summer holidays and with my “Garden of the Impossible”, for whose name I was inspired by its own detractors.
Being cautious listening to nature, I have tried to support its forces, the genius loci and the dialogue with and between the landscape and the atmosphere of the garden.

I have worked on reclamations starting from a respectful listening of the places, caves in particular, with their distant origins, guardians of a story in which it has become essential to enter on tiptoes, leaving the hard work to nature, preserving the patterns of their walls and the architecture of lava caves.
All this has allowed the construction of a wild garden, which according to many is a shelter of spirituality and poetry, a border of barbarity and alienation, a utopia to be contemplated through the five senses. The park wasn’t born to be shown, but it was conceived as an “all by itself” private garden, where to live, think and dream.
However, the presence of tourist accommodation, located on the inside had had the effect of creating a stream of curious visitors of nature and botany, so that on December 14, 2010, the caves were inscribed on the R.E.I.L Books of Expressions, Egadi Islands, under the name of Villa Margherita Hypogeum Gardens, as they represent a high expression of mankind’s cultural heritage.


Maria Gabriella Campo




by Maria Gabriella Campo


the creator of the Giardino dell’Impossibile.
An amazing feat IN years Documenta from articles on sector magazines, interviews and television services harvests in the Press section.

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