195 vines for the rebirth of the urban vineyard of the Botanical Garden of Palermo

195 vines are planted in the space of the Botanical Garden of Palermo for the “Vigna del Gallo”. It is a new step forward for the project of the University of Palermo and the Consortium for the protection of DOC wines in Sicily, which with the “Vigna del Gallo” aims to recreate a vineyard in the beautiful natural space of the Botanical Garden.

The 195 rootstock vines have been planted by the technicians of the Botanical Garden following a scheme that reproduces the rows of vineyards. In July they will be grafted with native Sicilian vines that will produce grapes in the next few years and will also allow a micro winemaking.

The revival of the “Vigna del Gallo”, in such a prestigious space, is part of the activities that the Consortium for the protection of DOC Sicilia wines has planned to raise awareness of the island’s biodiversity and enhance the native varieties of DOC Sicilia.

The “Vigna del Gallo” project is coordinated by Professor Paolo Inglese, Director of the Museum System Services Centre of the University of Palermo, who has signed a scientific cooperation agreement with the Consortium for the protection of Doc Sicilia wines. The executive phases are followed by the director of the Botanical Garden, Professor Rosario Schicchi, and the curator, Dr. Manlio Speciale. “To revive the “Vigna del Gallo” and cultivate the different varieties of Sicilian vines in the Botanical Garden of Palermo, one of the most prestigious institutions in Italy, is a great testimony to the importance we attach to the conservation of biodiversity on our island,” said Antonio Rallo, president of the Consortium for the protection of wines Doc Sicily.

“Planting Sicilian relics in this unique natural space, therefore rediscovered indigenous cultivars, has the strong meaning of tying the vine, which has been and is the main part of our agriculture, to a historical place in our land – adds Laurent Bernard de la Gatinais, member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium Doc wines Sicily -. Visitors to the Botanical Garden will have the opportunity to dwell on the beauty of the place and see what we have managed to do with a piece of history of Sicily.

“Making possible the rebirth of the vines in the “Vigna del Gallo” – explains Paolo Inglese, director of the Museum System Services Centre of the University of Palermo – has a double meaning. On the one hand, to pass on a tangible testimony of the past of the Botanical Garden and to make known one of the most important matrices of biodiversity in the Mediterranean such as that of the vine in Sicily. In addition, the Museum System of the University of Palermo and the Botanical Garden are united with the Consortium Doc wines Sicily, one of the most important institutional and economic realities of Sicily.

The idea of reviving the “Vigna del Gallo” brings us back to the origins of the Botanical Garden, founded in 1789: the land, purchased by the Royal Academy of Studies of Palermo in the plan of Sant’Erasmo, belonged to Duke Ignazio Vanni d’Archirafi. The Botanical Garden was born as a seat on a bastion where before the public powder magazine of the city was kept; very soon, the space available proved to be narrow and inadequate to the educational needs that were constantly developing. A few years after its foundation, the plan for Sant’Erasmo and a portion of the land of the “Vigna del Gallo” were identified for the new headquarters of the Botanical Garden.

The Botanical Garden of the University of Palermo is one of the most important Italian academic institutions. Considered an enormous open-air museum, the Botanical Garden boasts over two hundred years of activity: it has been a place of study and dissemination, in Sicily, Europe and throughout the Mediterranean basin, of countless plant species, many originating in tropical and subtropical regions. The peculiarity of the Botanical Garden is represented by the great variety of species housed that make it a place rich in expressions of different flowers.

In the space destined to host the “Vigna del Gallo” (Rooster’s Vineyard), the vines will have a transversal position, so as to make them immediately visible to those who approach along the avenue that runs along the “Serra delle Succulente” (Succulent Greenhouse).

The area chosen to plant the “Vigna del Gallo” is sunny and near a few steps where visitors are used to stop.

A panel will illustrate, at the entrance of the Botanical Garden, the project of the “Vigna del Gallo” and will make it easy to identify the vines.

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