THE ENGLISH GARDEN
The garden was designed by the renowned architect Giovan Battista Filippo Basile and planted between 1850 – 51. Basile’s plans took into account the characteristics of the area and required a plot of natural green land. The architect was inspired by the exotic atmosphere of abundant fruit and plants reminiscent of “the ancient pleasure garden of the Arab emir Ibn Hawqal”. As the name implies the garden was planted according to English taste. It follows the characteristics of the land and is full of natural features such as trees, streams, caves and small pools, next to which are usually constructions of low architectural impact such as false ruins and little temples. The plants were not chosen randomly – selection of the centuries old ficus to the most exotic species coming from Africa and Asia was made in honour of Palermo’s Islamic past. Wandering along the different paths one finds different busts including those of Pirandello, Antonio Ugo, De Amicis, Mario Rutelli and that of the Piccola Vedetta Lombarda by Giovanni Nicolini. The little Arab-style temple was designed by Giovan Battista’s son, Ernesto Basile.
Giuseppe Damiani Almeyda designed Villa Bonanno in 1905 during the accommodation of Piazza Vittoria. Villa Bonanno is a villa dedicated to Pietro Bonanno, mayor of Palermo. The villa is mainly characterized by its lush palms and some interesting elements: "The House of the Caretaker" designed by Almeyda, the marble bust of Mayor Bonanno with the basement designed by Ernesto Basile, the monument dedicated to Filippo IV, made by Nunzio Morello in 1856, but designed in 1661 by Carlo D'aprile with the collaboration of the Serpotta, and the remains of two Roman patrician houses.