The city of Palermo was introduced to the culture of green spots by the Arabs and later on, it were the Normans who gifted the city with various parklands and summer palaces to provide respite from the busy and bustling city life. Many of these gardens have a proud collection of banyan and other exotic trees. Some of the choicest parks and gardens in Palermo include:
This park stands in the heart of Palermo, at Piazza Marina, and features very old and giant banyan trees, fig trees and palms reaching up to great heights. The most attractive feature of Piazza Marina is the facade featuring two tiers of delightful windows with magnificent stone inlays. The palace is sometimes open for concerts.
Designed at the end of the 19th century, these English Gardens lie to the north bordering Via della Libertà past Piazza Crispi. The park was once notoriously famous for being a hangout for the druggies but now, the police has cleared the area of these elements.
Parco Della Favorita
This park lies at the foot of Monte Pellegrino and was once a part of an estate acquired in 1799 by Ferdinand of Bourbon. The place boasts of the beautiful Chinese palace which was built for Ferdinand. The marble fountain with a statue of Hercules is actually a copy of the celebrated Farnese Hercules that the king tried to abduct from Naples. In the 18th century, many noble families built summer villas around the park to escape the intense heat of the city.
The Botanical Gardens
Designed by Carlos Thay in 1902, the gardens are divided into areas representing flora and fauna nationally and internationally. The glasshouse was exhibited in the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris. There is a bronze bust commemorating Thays for the work he has done. The garden is the pride of Palermo and features water lilies pond and the Italienete section where there are marble sculptures dotted about including Odina de Plata, a demure river-nymph from a Rio de la Plata’s legend.