Every time that you enter the Giardini Mortella, it's seems to 'visit' the book "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Maybe because over the threshold, covered by climbing, you cannot image boundless greenery and flowers, maybe you think about a place far away, thanks to luxuriant plants to colour all around.
Tree-ferns from Australia, Protee and Aloe from South Africa, Yuccas and Agave from Mexico, Magnolia, Bauhinie, Palms, Cicadacee, are a continuous discovery, a trip around the world, evoking far and exotic places. Instead we are in Zaro, in the municipality of Forio, just a short walk from the beach of San Francesco, in La Mortella elected in 2004 by Grandi Giardini Italiani, 'The most beautiful garden in Italy'.
The work by Lady Walton, founder of the park, in fact, is known by garden lovers in every part of the world, famous the Prince Carlo of England visit, to the extent that an orchid bears her name: Miltassia Lady Susana Walton. The birth of this enchanting garden, stretches on two hectares, called 'divine myrtle' or Myrtus communis, is dedicated to love, that one between the Argentinean Susana Valeria Rosa Maria Gil Passo and the famous composer English man Sir William Walton, that made it, own flowery nest.
Following the itinerary of La Mortella, open since 1992, will be very easy thanks to the map of the most interesting and main plants, that guests receive at the entrance.
We will begin our visit in the valley. This part of the garden was designed by Russell Page beginning in 1956. It is shaped like an L, the long axis formed by a thin rivulet of water. Surrounded by Magnolia, chorisia and Cycadaceae.
To be continued...you arrive at the river in the shadow of many chosen trees like Liriodendron, 20 m high with yellow flowers similar to tulips, hosting on the trunks orchids, Tillandsie, ferns and bromeliaceous. Arrived at the main fountain, near the stretch of water dug into the volcanic rock at the house Walton foot, you can find tree-ferns and Geranium maderense, while by the most warm side, a rich collection of Brahea, Yucca, Agave plants, that love to stay dry and sunny.
A stop at the delicious terrace to give a pleasant relaxing moment with a good tea cup and slice of cake.
The walk continues toward the hill garden, drawn and created by Lady Walton since 1983, the year Sir William Walton passed away. A terraced way with sunny walls and panorama, a Mediterranean greenery, presents flowery and exuberant corners.
In a position that includes not only the garden, but also the bay of Forio, there is the famous rock of Sir William, hosting his remains, a natural rocky pyramid, considered belonging to Sir William.
Not far away from here, you find the imposing Tempio del Sole, divided into three large places derived from an ancient cistern to irrigate, with walls illuminated by sun rays across the roof holes and mythological bas-relief, work by Simon Verity, that shows Apollo, divinity of Music and Poetry, with other sciences, like medicine, dance, flora, nature and ancient woods.
Going up, up to the crocodile fall, surrounded by Agapanthus campanulatus and rare specimens of Encephalarthos manikensis, along the bank. A discovery for many visitors that think real the bronze crocodile statue.
When you walk along the path near the Coccodrillo zone, follow your smell. Aromatic herbs and fragrant bushes, with a collection of ornamental sage, aromatic geraniums, thymes, lavenders and plectranthus make this place panoramic up to the zone of Greek theatre that at the night offers an amazing and suggestive scenery, surrounded by trees, Mediterranean plants and fragrant essences, dug into large lava rocks and stone walls overlooking the sea.
The summer music season, organized by Fondazione William Walton and La Mortella, as centre for young musicians, opens jazz evenings. Theatre, cinema, show and opera.
The stage management by Caroline Howard, decided to enrich the program, dedicating the season to an Italian-English music union for music lovers, for whoever wants to listen music, discover new talents and feel intense emotions. Note on you diary the date on Thursday June 23rd with "West Side Story", by Leonard Bernstein in collaboration with Conservatorio di Musica L. Refice of Frosinone; while the next Thursday, on June 30th , on air "La musica va al cinema", with the Orchestra Giovanile of Rome and a concert dedicated to movie sound tracks with famous symphonic pieces like Aria sulla 4^ corda di Bach, Wagneriana Carica of Walkirie or ouverture by Guglielmo Tell and the music by Nino Rota (in 2011 his centenary).
For opera lovers, the appointment is on July 14th , on air Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi with the Southbank Sinfonia.
Leaving the Greek Theatre, after the hall Thai, place of meditation and quiet surrounded by a lotus plants pond, the walk goes on to stop to the summit of Monte Zaro, from which you can admire the entire bay of Forio up to the church of Soccorso.
Maybe Lady Walton, passed away last year at the age of 83, has become a beautiful butterfly, moving among flowers to the tune of Sir William Walton...