Maredolce-La Favara

The International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens 2015

XXVI International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens

edited by Giuseppe Barbera, Patrizia Boschiero and Luigi Latini

Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche

Treviso 2015

192 pages, 166 colour illustrations and 46 in black and white

ISBN 978-88-97784-71-5

(series: Memorie/dossier)

The dossier assembles a number of specially written contributions and iconographic, cartographic and bibliographical materials which together offer an in-depth insight into the historical and geographical background of Maredolce-La Favara, its compositional features and distinctive aspects of its contemporary context. The volume opens with the citation supporting the award of the 2015 Carlo Scarpa Prize, a selection of orientative maps and a compendium of bibliographic and cartographic sources documenting the over a thousand year history of the place.


The second part comprises three studies covering the historical and cultural setting of the birth and development of the place, its importance in terms of the transformations that took place in the agrarian landscape and the network of royal residences in the Norman period, all against the broader background of places and landscapes typical of the Muslim presence in the West.


The focus shifts in the third part to the long period of historical layering experienced by Maredolce, with studies of different cartographic approaches, architectural considerations, including the recent restoration work, and archaeological campaigns. Then come three contributions that help to place Maredolce in the wider framework of historical landscapes and Arab-Norman residences, and in its relation to the other historical survivals still scattered over the area.


The nature of the place and the more specific characteristics of the Maredolce landscape are the subject of the fourth part, with various contributions devoted to geomorphology, and hydraulics – both fundamental to an understanding of the origins and current condition of the basin –as well as to agronomy, botany and malacology.


The book closes with three views of the area to which Maredolce belongs, in particular the Brancaccio district and the factors that have determined the social and economic texture of this part of the city, exploring the situation from the points of view of town planning, human geography and the vital work being (and remaining to be) done in the field of education and civic engagement.



The International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens 1990-2015, 4

Regulations, 5
Maredolce-La Favara. Citation of the Prize, 6
Palermo and Sicily: the geographical context of Maredolce-La Favara, 17

Bibliographical sources for Maredolce-La Favara, 973-1965, edited by Giuseppe Barbera, 23
Franco Cardini, Arab-Norman Sicily, 42
José Tito Rojo, The great reservoirs of the Muslim West – function, development, restoration – and their relevance to the Favara, 53
Giuseppe Barbera, Maredolce-La Favara: the place, the Arab and Norman heritage, the changing landscape of the Conca d’Oro, 67
Massimo Rossi, Conca d’Oro. Through maps to longue durée history, 88
Lina Bellanca, The recent restoration of the Favara and future plans: architecture, archaeology, hydraulics, landscape and ownership regime, 101 
Antonino Abbadessa and Emanuela Piazza, Acquisition and restoration, 107 
Stefano Vassallo, Archaeology in the “castle” of Maredolce-La Favara, 114
Ettore Sessa, Buildings in the Norman royal parks in Palermo, 118
Eliana Mauro, Memories of the Norman Park, 124
Renata Prescia, Recovering the “cultural landscape” of the Favara, 128
Pietro Todaro, The nature of the place: geomorphological, hydrological and hydraulic aspects of the ancient Favara spring at Maredolce, 135 
Tommaso La Mantia, Agronomic aspects of the Favara and its background, 146
Giuseppe Barbera, The traditional irrigation system in the Conca d’Oro, 155
Salvatore Pasta, The Favara of Maredolce in the XIX and XX centuries: botanical records of an important wetland, 158 
Ignazio Sparacio, The freshwater molluscs of Maredolce: bibliographical data, 160
Ferdinando Trapani, The Favara and the Brancaccio neighbourhood. Urban development and current problems, 162
Giulia de Spuches, Maredolce: the invisibility of an imperial landscape. A single area with multiple geographies and histories, 169
Ferdinando Siringo, The Favara and the life of the Brancaccio neighbourhood. Education, participation, common good and key places, 174

Glossary of Arabisms found in Sicilian dialect terms in agriculture, edited by Giuseppe Barbera, 178

Bibliography, 179

Photographic references, 187

International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens 2015, 188