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La Mortella Gardens

The garden of the seven wonders

La Mortella gardens in Forio are known throughout Europe for their scenic beauty, extraordinary collection of rare plants and for being the home of English composer William Walton. The charm of these gardens may be due to their origin, a lifelong love story between William and his wife Susana. Susana, who loved nature and the composer of famous works, such as Façade, Touch her soft lips, and Crown Imperial, played during the Royal Wedding of William and Kate, wanted to create a garden of delight, a masterpiece of her own. She called on the famous landscape architect, Russell Page, to design the gardens and the facilities on a beautiful hill in Zaro, an area in Forio.

The gardens are divided into two parts, a lower garden in the valley and a garden on the hilltop. It covers an area of about 2 hectares (about 5 acres) and is home to more than 3000 species of exotic and rare plants. This amazing botanical garden is further enriched by the presence of beautiful sights, such as the Chinese Pagoda, the Crocodile Pool, the Temple of the Sun, and the museum dedicated to William Walton. In addition to large fountains and streams, the garden is also home a superb collection of aquatic plants: papyrus, lotus flowers, and tropical water lilies, including the undisputed queen of the kingdom of water lilies and star of the park, the Victoria amazonica. It is grown in a greenhouse area in the valley of the Mortella. Walking along the shady trails and paths of flowering roses, you run in to thousands of botanical wonders of the five continents: Australian tree ferns, aloe and protea from South Africa, Yuccas and Agaves from Mexico, Ginkgo biloba from China, Woodwardia radicans from the Canary Islands, Puya berteroniana from Chile, and high up on the hill, the Mediterranean garden with Strawberry trees (Il Corbezzolo), holm oaks, buckthorn, mastic trees, and many myrtles, which gave the entire garden its name – La Mortella means the place of myrtles.

The gardens are also dedicated to music, and how could they not be! Afternoons at the Mortella are often entertained by chamber music and piano solo concerts. Summer evenings can be spent at the Greek Theatre, an amphitheatre overlooking the impressive panorama, listening to the symphony orchestra. You will find a lovely coffee bar within the gardens which is the perfect place to take a break and have a sweet or salty snack. Don’t miss out on the finest English teas and homemade cakes!