|Where it is
|Rio nell'Elba - Loc. Santa Caterina
|How to get there
|Going from Rio nell'Elba towards Nisporto, after approximately 2 kilometres, road signs in a lay-by on your right will tell you where to go from there.
|April: 10:30 - 13:00 / 15:30 - 18:30 > closed Sundays and Mondays / 9, 10, and 25th April open
May and June: 15:00 - 19:00 > closed Mondays / open May 1st, 2nd June
July and August: 17:00 - 19:30 > closed Mondays / 15th August closed
September and October: 10:30 - 13:00 / 15:30 - 18:30 > closed Mondays
|Prior booking only (5 visitors minimum)
|whole €5,00 - reduced €3,00 (students or groups) - free (children under 12, students from schools in Elba, disabled persons and those accompanying them, tourist and environmental guides, journalists and travel bloggers)
|tel. 39 376 0221746
The dei Semplici Gardens came to be in 1992 thanks to an idea tha came from the two botanists Gabriella Corsi and Fabio Garbari from the University of Pisa and also the writer and German photographer Hans Georg Berger, whose aim was to encourage and deepen people's knowledge of both spontaneous and cultivated plants in the Tuscan Archipelago and also to preserve the etnobotanic traditions envolved therein.
The Orto dei Semplici in Elba was designed by the architects Roberto Gabetti and Aimaro Isola. As regards the flowers that grow naturally they have always worked alongside botanists from the University of Pisa while the agrarian side is looked after by the Sant'Anna High School Studies in Pisa.
The garden was meant to be a catalyst structure for new production initiatives in the agricultural and environmental field from an economical and occupational point of view, and in complete harmony with the territorial resources and local traditions of the area. The Gardens have therefore taken on the role of maintaining and strengthening the naturalistic, farmaceutical, agrarian and forest species of particular interest in the Tuscan Archipelago.
The doors were opened to the public in spring 1997 and sponsored by the Italian Society of Botany; its activity has always been continued thanks to volunteers and the Friends of the Hermitage Association as well as the Municipality of Rio nell'Elba, not forgetting the support of several national bodies like the Region of Tuscany, the Province of Livorno and the Comunità Montana. Between 2016 and 2020 it was run by the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.
Precisely in those years many naturally grown plants were discovered, picked and then planted in special fields, as well as naturally grtown plants and also exclusive and rare (endemic) ones that come from different pants of Elba.
At the moment the Gardens are undergoing renovations to improve them thanks to the hard work of the gardeners, several volunteers as well as several members of the Friends of the Santa Caterina Hermitage who own the land. Its running is in the hands of Francesco Marino who also cares for and develops the various collections as well as organizing the upkeep and access to the public.
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