Pantelleria’s gardens, inspired by wind and citrus fruit

Some of Pantelleria’s gardens feature a single plant, with lava stone drywalls, often circular and up to three meters tall, “tailored” around one citrus tree.

The walls were built as protection against the salty, incessant wind that sweeps Pantelleria – indeed, some experts believe the name of the beautiful Sicilian island comes from the Arab “Bent el rion”, meaning “daughter of the wind”.

Speaking of etymology, the word “garden” originally derived from “enclosure” – and as we mentioned Pantelleria’s small enclosures often were meant for a single, solitary guest.

Pantelleria’s gardens were mentioned on a Sumerian tablet dating as far back as the 3rd millennium BC, and their incredibly long history builds around typically Mediterranean symbols: they were probably inspired by the ideal maternal womb, a sacred and protected place for life.

Technically, they were able to protect plants not only from the wind, but also from drought: they were built to trap night moisture, generating an ideal micro-climate for citrus trees to grow and bear fruit.

The Donnafugata garden is one of the most famous in Pantelleria and is still in good condition; located in the Khamma contrada, it is currently under the protection of FAI (Fondo ambiente italiano).

Here are some of these mysterious, beautiful gardens.

Photos via: ©toti accardo palumbo, ©gi_ger

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Pantelleria’s gardens, inspired by wind and citrus fruit

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