Villa Tritone

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Villa Tritone is located in Sorrento and was built in the second half of the 16th century. The propriety was bought by the Labonia family, Calabrian barons, who started to adjust the garden where they started building a villa. The area was transformed completely by the British ambassador William Waldorf Astor, viscount of Hever Castle in Great Britain, who made it in an English style garden at the beginning of the 20th century. He decorated it with a collection of archaeological finds, ivies, wisterias and bignonias. The garden was built on a spur of tuff rock which is exposed to the gulf of Naples and punta Campanella, behind which there is Capri island. The garden covers a surface of about 3 hectares and it is divided in terracings which descend till the sea level, where it is still possible to find an ancient nymphaeum of the Augustan age. It is protected by a boundary wall covered by wisterias on the eastern side, in which there are only narrow double-arched windows: lord Astor wanted this to give value to the scenery and to make visitors concentrate on the details of the environment. The shadowy paths are surrounded by palms, orange trees, agaves, ferns, statues, capitals and ancient sarcophagi.

The plants
Among the botanical attractions of Villa Tritone’s garden, it is possible to find an interesting collection of exotic plants which have adapted to the local environmental conditions: palms, Cycadaceae, secular Nolina spp., monumental Strelitzia alba and an ancient specimen of Encephalartos spp., which were introduced by the will of lord Astor. The Clivias’ and Jacarandas’ (Jaracanda mimosaefolia) blooming are impressive. There are also Mediterranean species like box trees, holm oaks, cypresses, numerous varieties of ivy and the classic red geraniums of the Amalfi coast. The climbing plants are also interested and there are among them secular Ficus repens, which grow slowly, and the rare Fuchsia magellanica whose leaves are velvety.

Interesting facts
Benedetto Croce lived in Villa Tritone, which was at the time the Netherlands’ Ambassy, and transformed the building in a meeting place.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


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