Gardens of the Viceroys’ Residences
t the time of the Viceroys of Sicily, Sicilian villas had gardens often characterized by a fusion of architectural styles, combining Arab, Byzantine, Norman and Spanish influences. Those gardens were often located in scenic locations and offered breathtaking views of the countryside and the surrounding towns. Some gardens featured fountains and ponds, often adorned with statues and sculptures, while others had sophisticated irrigation systems that kept the greenery lush and blooming throughout the year. The gardens of the Sicilian residences, often embellished by the presence of lush and luxuriant vegetation, were rich in different plant species, among which there were fruit trees, vegetable gardens and vineyards, although the main purpose was to provide the owner with a leisure spot, with spaces dedicated to games, music and dancing. Oftentimes, the noble organized banquets and celebrations to demonstrate their wealth, allowing all the guests to immerse themselves in luxury and unparalleled entertainment. In the course of those festive evenings, the nobles had the opportunity to talk and entertain each other in a unique and evocative setting that highlighted all the beauty of the island of Sicily.
The garden of the Palazzo dei Normanni, located in Palermo
The garden of Palazzo dei Normanni in Palermo is a perfect example of the attention and importance that the noble class of Viceroys gave to the creation of green spaces. Visually, a strong Spanish influence is immediately perceptible to the eye, with the presence of Moorish architectural elements such as fountains, arches and columns. The influence of the Viceroys is also evident in various sculptures and statues (including one representing Hercules), which were intended to demonstrate the economic and social power of the building owner. Memorable and opulent parties were held in the green area in front of the entrance. The meticulous care and attention that Spanish noble families paid to their front yards soon spread throughout the island of Sicily.