The Botanical Garden of Palermo, Orto Botanico di Palermo, is the key inspiration for the Manifesta 12 concept “The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence”. It will host one of the 3 main sections of the Manifesta 12 biennial – Garden of Flows – exploring toxicity, plant life and the politics of gardening in relation to tending the transnational commons.
Orto Botanico is an institution of the University of Palermo, open to the public. The garden was built in 1789 and inaugurated in December of 1795. It features a complex of three historical buildings: Gymnasium – a central pavilion and the seat of the Schola Regia Botanices, the Calidarium and the Tepidarium. The buildings were designed by a French architect Leòn Dufourny. The Winter Garden, the Tineo room and the garden’s current entrance were designed by Carlo Giachery, dating back to the 19th century.
Orto Botanico consists of a series of collections that are organised and identified based on scientific classification, also taking into account the aesthetic and landscaping criteria. The garden is divided into the following sections: The Linnaean system, the Engler system, the Succulent Collection, the Useful Plants Section, the Cycadales complex, the Palmetum, the Mediterranean Hill, the Experimental and Biogeographical Sections. One of the main sights is an impressive 500-square meter circular pool (Aquarium) for water lilies, consisting of 24 compartments with different depths.
Images by CAVE Studio, Manifesta
History and description of Orto Botanico are kindly provided by Orto Botanico di Palermo