The secret garden

A heaven on earth, an enchanted garden whose charm is irresistible. On the southwestern coast of Sicily facing the Mediterranean Sea, in the stretch between Porto Palo and Selinunte, there is a hidden magical and breathtaking place nestled among the rocks. Where once only palmettos, capers and thorn bushes managed to grow among the stones, all of sudden there was a blossoming of flowers and the spreading of nature.

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Plants and animals started to reproduce having found a safe and comfortable environment. The "Parchi" - platforms - , as the site was called in ancient times, takes its name from the typical flat rocks ofthe area that seem like a host of platforms (called "parchi" in Sicilian).  Today you can find a lush tropical garden created by Enrico Varvaro whose ancestors arrived here in 1848. At the time he was twenty years old and he loved underwater fishing. He would spend hours fishing for bass in the waters in front of this stretch of coast, swimming among the enchanting plants of Mediterranean tapeweed.

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The site was extremely alluring to him, even though it appeared to be only a stretch of stones that could be reached only from the sea. There was no sign of plants, a pure "res nullius", but it was love at first sight. A passionate naturalist, he decided to buy it and started a painstaking effort to populate the area with plants after carefully studying those plants that seemed capable of being resistant to the salinity and sirocco winds and adapting to the climate. He created watering points and he was determined in the protection of this green area each time it was threatened by fires. 

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Over time, thanks to his love and dedication, what was once a stretch of stones slowly witnessed a flourishing of lentisk, lanes, oak trees, sugar canes, mulberries, carobs, tamarisks, laurels, banana trees, prickly pears, bougainvilleas, silverwattles, rosemary, aloes, olive trees, pine trees and many species of aromatic herbs and plants that changed these 14 hectares of land into a genuine botanical garden unique in its kind.

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In order to favour the greening of the area, he also relied on the many animals that he brought here: cows, sheep, horses, pigs, Tibetan goats, fallow deers, mouflons, ostriches, francolins, geese, and especially donkeys that could live off the dry grass, wild thistles and thorny plants, while keeping the habitat intact and clean. In 1984 a Reserve was set up here: nature now rules unchallenged and man has adapted to its rules and its cycles.

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In 1984 a Reserve was set up here: nature now rules unchallenged and man has adapted to its rules and its cycles.

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There are many trails that lead you into the green where absolute harmony reigns between the environment and the animals. It is a secret oasis of rare beauty with romantic and hidden reefs washed by crystal-clear waters. A heaven on earth, an enchanted garden whose charm is irresistible. These very coasts are the birthplace of Costadune wines by Mandrarossa, a tribute to the sand dunes that often characterize the long and pristine beaches. 

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Monovarietal autochthonous wines that are the genuine expression of a truly unique terroir: Costadune Grecanico and Costadune Nero d'Avola. Grecanico is a white grape variety that best represents the territory from which it is born: a dry, fresh, fragrant wine for drinking every day. It is ideal as an aperitif with its rich scents of citrus fruit, Mediterranean white flowers, jasmine and oleander. 

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Nero d'Avola, a Sicilian red grape variety par excellence, with a strong character that expresses unique fruity scents of ripe marasca cherries and a surprising mellowness.

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