This beautiful Villa and garden have been in the San Guiliano family for over 800 years.
The estate includes the chapel, below, a South American inspired garden from a stay in Brazil, and groves of citrus and olives.
I liked this section of blue, great shape and texture.
Head gardener Rachel Lamb was kind to give us a full tour of the property. She has worked closely with Marchese San Guiliano since 2002.
Poolside has a great view of Mt. Etna.
This walled garden s behind the pool and contains a pink grapefruit grove that the estate uses to make marmalade s that sell internationally.
Several pretty planters dot the back garden such as this one with the San Guiliano coat of arms. Look for the lizard, there were lots of them and frogs about.
This massive ficus was planted in 1959 in honour of the family’s return to the estate. One of several resident dogs.
Detail of chapel chairs with family coat of arms.
All photos sue.womersley.
How thrilling to be standing in a Greek Theater from the third century B.C., overlooking Mt. Etna and the Ionian Sea and Taromina.
Aside from the spectacular views, the Teatro Greco is still used for events to this day, crews were setting up stages around ruins while I was there.
Taormina is a pretty historic medieval town with roots that include Greek, Roman, Arab and was the Sicilian parliament for a time in 1410.
There is a public garden next to my hotel, created as a private garden in the late 1800′s by Englishwoman Miss Florence Trevelyan, who later donated it to the town.
Beautiful vistas, scented plants, tropicals and rare species make up this garden as well as some unusual follies made with basalt (black volcanic rock).
With only two days, my time here has passed too quickly. We had a walking tour thought the narrow streets, past many Palazzo and Churches. There are many shops, high end, artisan and tourist wares for all of the cruise ships that port here six months a year.
I found many decorated balconies that caught my eye.
The view towards the Greek Theater from where I ate lunch.
Sunset View to Mt. Etna’s base from my private patio at the hotel…
All photos sue womersley.
Villa Cimbrone in RAVELLO, high on the Amalfi Coast, offers spectacular panoramic views, from the part of the estate appropriately called The Terrace of Infinity…
The estate dates to the eleventh century, but after years of abandonment, English traveller Ernest William Beckett, Lord Grimthorpe, purchased and began restoration in 1904. Vita Sackville West was a regular guest whom gave her expert guidance. The concepts and influence of other famous English garden designers are recognized in the structure and layout.
This existing central avenue is from the family who owned it during Renaissance times. Named the Avenue of Immensity, it provides a wonderful sight line and is covered in sweet smelling wisteria which was in full bloom.
What a lovely garden, a whole day could be spent enjoying what Lord Grimthorpe describes as a magical place and helped him find happiness after the early loss of his much loved wife.
Villa Rufolo has a varied history since the the 13th century, with influence of Arabic, Sicilian and Norman found in the architecture. Rescued and gardens were added by Scottish industrialist Francis Neville Reid at the beginning of the century.
More panoramic views to take in
Villa Rufolo is host to festivals and cultural events.
Here is my Mum enjoying the Terrace of Infinity.
All photos Sue Womersley.
With over 160 varieties of roses and 1300 ornamental trees, the beautiful Ninfa Gardens have been called both the most romantic and the best in the world. Located two hours southeast of Rome, Ninfa also has a tragic past.
Papal civil wars in the 14th century lead to Emperor Barborossa ordering the small town and its people destroyed.
A medieval town left in ruins for five centuries, and slowly planned, planted and restored by Gelasio Caetani, his English mother and family from the 1920′s to the 1970′s, and is now maintained by a foundation set up by the historic family of the region.
Within the ruins are the remains of five churches, the oldest dating to the 10th century.
At the base of the mountains, the engineering of the water collection and distribution is amazing.
The gardens are very limited in open times and you must be accompanied by a guide in effort to protect this delicate ecosystem. The garden was declared a natural monument in 2000.
My favorite spot.
All photos Sue Womersley
Villa d’Este was Built in the 1550′s by Ipolito d’Este, grandson to Cardinal Borgia. It is famous for its water features, as Ipolito hired French engineers for the hydrolics as well as arranged withe the local people to use the river in exchange for clean water. Over twenty fountains and several grottos make up this garden as well as the three large fish ponds.
…courtyard to Villa
Fountain in courtyard
View from Villa over lower terrace (there were at least 8 levels). Fontana del Tripode.
Terrace wall and planters
View to below, the 3peschiere and Fontana di Neptune.
Detail Fontana dell’Organo. Yes, it really plays music every 2 hours.
Fontana di Nettuno ( lower) Fontana dell’Organo (upper)
Cento Fontane (100 fountains)
The systems and engineering for moving such massive volume of water was ver interesting to notice, one example here up either side of these steps. View up to the villa from lower terrace. Many stairs to climb back up.
View from villa overlooking Fontana di Rometta and the Tivoli valley that is known for its olive oil production and travertine quarries. Much of rome’s buildings are covered in travertine from this region 1 hour away from the city.
All photos Sue Womersley.
I bought this architectural print 20 years ago, when I lived in my first condo and still love and enjoy it. It is a detail of Raphael’s work in Rome from the 1770s. As I am soon departing for Rome, it was in my mind.
It has moved with me through several homes, and been in other rooms such as the bedroom and my office, and full circle into the current living room.
I often wonder why we like what we like – a colour, an object, a shape… why some things resonate with us and others do not? It is my job, as well as my passion, to bring vision to the table for my clients and pull together many disparate materials and objects to make a cohesive room that feels good and resonates with them. I feel I am a filter of sorts, sifting down hundreds of different options for materials, furniture and accessories to the chosen few for a specific client and project. It is also my job to provide practical information to clients.
I digress! I hope to post a few design musings while in Italy, as well find my Facebook page Revere Residential, and like me if you please
related France travel design musings you may also enjoy…
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My name is Sue Womersley and I am an Interior Decorator in White Rock, BC. www.REVEREresidential.ca
Here is my collection of pottery and porcelain… What appeals to you?