The Orto Botanico di Palermo (Botanical Garden of Palermo) is both a botanical garden and a research and educational institution of the Department of Botany of the Palermo University. Nowadays it hosts a public library, a conference hall and numerous expository halls.
The origins of the Orto Botanico can be traced back to the end of XVIII century, an epoch for the Kingdom of Sicily characterised by reforms and innovation on a cultural perspective. In 1779, a fundamental event was the foundation of the Regia Accademia degli Studi di Palermo (an academy which corresponds to the actual university). With the institution of the course on Natural History and Botany, the academy obtained the possibility to devote a piece of land to the farm of medicinal plants for educational purposes.
In 1795, the new location of 12.000 square metres was inaugurated: the garden was decorated with fountains, large tanks and the marvellous Aquarium. Lately, a small exotic forest and the Giardino d’inverno (the winter Garden) were installed, together with the construction of a large road separating the Botanical Garden with the adjacent Villa Giulia. After a long period characterised by misgovernment, speculation and obstructionism for the Kingdom of Sicily, during which no enlargements were allowed to the garden, in 1913 the Colonial Garden was built and the Botanical Garden finally became the Orto Botanico as we know it today.