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The Pantelleria garden

"The garden, an unprecedented extravagance, an orchard with a single tree... archetype of paradise with bitter knowledge... a space to keep for the last-minute Adam and Eve".
B. Rudofsky, 1979

"No agricultural system, no architecture requires so much work to grow a single tree. [...] Erect a small garden is not justifiable only for the fruits but supported by the need for pleasure and beauty that citrus fruits satisfy for their harmonious form and the dense shadow of the evergreen foliage, the colour and scent of the flowers and the fruits that follow each other continuously over the seasons. The Pantelleria garden is the primitive idea of ​​the garden: a fruit tree enclosed by a fence ".
G. Barbera, 2016

The Pantelleria garden is a fence built entirely of dry stone, generally circular in shape, which has been erected for centuries on the island in order to create a climate suitable for the development of a citrus fruit. The construction of this high wall apparatus around a single tree allows its survival, otherwise impossible in climatic conditions with an annual rain average of 484 mm per square meter, strong winds and considerable temperature changes. Even 5 meters high, the garden or jardínu, creates within it a different microclimate than the outside, keeping the trunk and the fertile soil in the shade throughout the day, allowing the entry of the sun's rays only on the foliage of the tree, guaranteeing a constant presence of water at the citrus fruit, even in the summer months, taking advantage of the less evaporation of moisture from the soil and the night condensation that the walls retain between the foundation stones.

The stone nourishes the citrus fruit, creating a space that adapts to the size and needs of the tree, almost sacred, imposing and severe. 

The drywall construction system with stones collected on site in the garden presents a double facing of large stones, whose intermediate space is filled with the smaller ones (the kasciáta).

The construction of a garden begins with setting up a central pole to which a string is tied with knots to fix the limits of the external and internal circumference. The action of rotating around the pole at the knot distance is carried out from the excavation phase and in the laying of the first stones making up the foundations. They are covered with earth, leaving only a portion of outcropping stones. Before fixing the first round of stones, the position of the door is defined and a small space, with an average width of 20 cm, will be the hole for the rain water to be collected from the inclined planes of the upper terraces or adjacent paths.

The Pantelleria garden actually collects water for its tree partly using condensation, partly by intercepting and channelling rainwater from an entrance hole.

The Pantelleria garden
The Pantelleria garden
(photo by Fabio Casano)
The Pantelleria garden
The Pantelleria garden
(photo by Parco Nazionale Isola di Pantelleria)
The Pantelleria garden, inside
The Pantelleria garden, inside
(photo by Parco Nazionale Isola di Pantelleria)
The Pantelleria garden
The Pantelleria garden
(photo by Andrea Belvisi)
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