Villa Comunale of Taormina

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The Villa Comunale of Taormina is the main green area of the town. It was originally the garden of the villa of Lady Florence Trevelyan, an English noblewoman on the run from a court scandal. The peculiar pavilions inside, the so-called Victorian Follies, are one of the symbols of Taormina.

The history of the Villa Comunale of Taormina

The present Villa Comunale of Taormina was originally the garden of the house of an English noblewoman who lived in Taormina in the nineteenth century: Lady Florence Trevelyan. The daughter of a cousin of Queen Victoria, Lady Florence arrived in Taormina in 1884, fleeing from a scandal at court. She was accused of having an affair with the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, who was already married to Alexandra of Denmark. In Taormina, Lady Florence met the doctor Salvatore Cacciola, who was to become the mayor of Taormina and whom she married in 1890. Over the years the couple bought several pieces of land where they built their villa and around which the noblewoman began to create an English-style garden. Lady Florence liked to call his land “Hallington Siculo” because it reminded him of Hallington Demesne in Scotland, where he had spent his childhood. In 1890, the couple also bought Isola Bella in Taormina, where they had a house and garden built

The Victorian Follies of the Villa Comunale in Taormina

The most interesting architectural elements of the Villa Comunale in Taormina are undoubtedly the so-called “Victorian Follies”. They are characteristic eclectic constructions inspired by oriental buildings. Designed and built by Florence Trevelyan between 1890 and 1899, they are also called “the beehives” because of their peculiar shape. The Victorian Follies were used by the noblewoman as a bird-watching station. The materials used in their construction are very varied. They range from exposed stone masonry for the parts of the base to brick alternating with lava stone for the turrets. The paving, on the other hand, was made by juxtaposing half-filled and perforated bricks with small, smoothed and cemented stones.

The Vegetation of Trevelyan Park

The Villa Comunale of Taormina is also characterized by the presence of several species of Mediterranean flora, which can be divided into three different groups. The first is that of tall trees such as olives, pines, cypresses and palms. The second group is made up of tropical plants such as Erythrina crista-galli, Chorisia speciosa or Aucuba japonica. Finally, there is a wide variety of tropical shrubs, hedges and flowers that define and decorate the flower beds and walls of the park.

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