Historical notes

Its origin dates back to 1779, when the Accademia dei Regi Studi, establishing a Chair of Botany and Materia medica, assigned her a modest plot of land to set up a small Orto botanico to be used for the cultivation of medicinal plants useful for the education and public health. In 1789 he started the construction of the main body of the buildings of the garden, composed of a central building, the Gymnasium, and two lateral bodies, the Tepidarium and Calidarium, designed neoclassico by the French architect style Léon Dufourny . In 1823 was Serra Maria Carolina completed. The huge Ficus macrophylla, which is the symbol of the modern garden, was imported in 1845 from Norfolk Island (Australia).

Species of plants

The plants themselves include foreign species such as bamboo from Burma, various foreign palms, the coffee plant, sycamore, manioc, papaya and many others. Mandarins and loquats are also present, having been introduced into the agriculture of the Mediterranean countries from the Far East by the Palermo Botanical Gardens between 1812 and 1817 with specimens donated by the British Royal Navy. Here you can also see cotton and sugar cane, once widely cultivated in Sicily. In the Aquarium, a round, multi-tiered pond, there are several species of lotus and water lily, including Oriental varieties. The Orto Botanico also has a large cactus collection. It's ambience is different from what you might expect in the newer botanical gardens of other nations. Little consideration seems to have been given to the aesthetic element of arborial areas. In many respects, the Gardens reflect the look they had two centuries ago. Many areas seem haphazardly assembled. Yet, this is precisely what gives the Orto Botanico a slightly wild appearance so welcome in a Sicilian urban park. If you seek symmetry, there's Villa Giulia next door. One of the more important roles of the Botanical Gardens is cataloging the wild plants found in Sicily, and the University tracks the status and conservation of these species. There's also a special area dedicated specifically to Mediterranean species not present in Sicily. The Orto Botanico belongs to a global network of botanical institutions which exchange seeds, specimens and information.

Visiting hours

from 1 November to 28 February 2013 2014, dalle ore 9.00 alle ore 17.00.


Via Lincoln, 2 - 90133 Palermo
Tel.  +39 09123891236


bus 139 221 224 225 250

Visit website

Our Conventions

Admission free until 3 years

The accompanying person is exempt from the ticket.

Full price:$5.00
Price PMO:$3.00

Valid only for the owner of the PMO CARD