La Mortella Gardens
Ischia, the beautiful island in the Gulf of Naples… only the name creates in me, that I am writing this article, pleasant emotions and memories about unforgettable summers, in the ’70. There, I spent every year from July to September before returning in Naples to start of the new school year….
The unmistakable profile of the Aragonese Castle, the island of Vivara which seems placed there to protect by the sea the area of Ischia Ponte, the Maronti beach with the islet of Sant’Angelo, the rock with the shape of a mushroom in Lacco Ameno and San Montano beach…these are some of the magical places of my youth, but also some of the most picturesque places on the island.
Forio is one of the municipalities of Ischia Island. This town has suffered several invasions by the Saracens over the centuries. Today significant signs of these invasions are still present in the local architecture. In the ’50s it was the preferred destination for artists from all over the world attracted by its beauty and the friendliness of its inhabitants.
The early ’50s an English composer and conductor Sir William Turner Walton decided to live in Ischia in the municipality of Forio with his Argentinian wife Susana; so they build a villa surrounded by a beautiful botanical garden.
Thus, the Museum-Garden of Lady Walton was born, it is commonly known as La Mortella. Susana Walton in 1956 commissioned to the landscape architect Russell Page the work of arranging the garden to integrate with the features rock formations in that flat area.
Today this beautiful place on the island is composed of two different areas: “The Valley” created by Russell Page, it’s characterized by a subtropical climate being moist and protected from the wind, and “The Hill” or Superior Garden, it’s rich in vegetation coming from Mediterranean areas and it was entirely conceived and developed by Susana Walton.
La Mortella occupies an area of about 2 hectares and it’s home for over 3000 species of plants, among which there are streams, ponds and fountains that allow the cultivation of aquatic species such as lotus, papyrus and tropical water lilies… of course…the background of everything is the charming landscape of the Bay of Forio!
In 1983 Sir William Turner Walton died peacefully in his Forio d’Ischia, and since 1990 La Mortella Gardens with the house-museum were opened to the public. Even after the death of Lady Walton in 2010 in Forio too, the Italian foundation named William Walton and the British non-profit organization named William Walton Trust with the Prince of Wales Charles as honorary president , preserve this wonderful corner of the equally wonderful island of Ischia.
(All the photos are taken from Google.com, all the videos are taken from YouTube.com, and all belong to their original owners)