Press release issued 11 March 2013
Sicily is an island with a diverse flora, history and culture. An educational tour by the University of Bristol Botanic Garden will explore the gardens, architecture and landscapes of the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.
Rich in history and at a crossroads between East and West Mediterranean and the trade routes between Europe and North Africa, Sicily has had waves of invasion and settlement throughout the past 2,700 years.
Much of this diversity can be seen in the architecture and historic ruins that are found throughout the island and the tour has been planned to explore the gardens, local flora and culture of Sicily.
Nick Wray said: "This year's study tour travels to the stunning island of Sicily, where the spring flowers will be abundant and the temperature warm.
"We have been given access to some beautiful private gardens and in some cases the tour will be hosted by the owner of the garden, giving an extra special dimension."
The tour will visit three historic sites on the island, the ancient Greek town of Akragas, known today as Agrigento; the Greek-Roman theatre at Taormina and the recently restored Norman-Arab house at Zisa castle outside Palermo.
There will also be guided tours to the botanic gardens in Palermo and Catania, as well as visits to some of the private gardens on the island and a trip to the vineyard of Tasca d'Almerita.
Towards the end of the tour there will be a day trip to Mount Etna to experience the lunar landscape of the lava fields and travel through many vegetation zones, where most plants are endemic to Etna.
The tour will be limited to 20 people and the cost for two sharing a room (not including flights) is £2,919 (based on 10–14 guests travelling) and £2,798 (based on 15–19 guests travelling).
A donation will be made from the tour to the development fund of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden.
About the Botanic Garden
The garden is open during March on Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm, or dusk if earlier. During April and May the garden is open on Monday to Friday and Sunday from 10 am to 4.30 pm.
Admission is £3.50 adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under-16.
The Welcome Lodge will be closed but informational leaflets will be available and a donation from non-Friends is requested. Disabled access and toilet facilities are available.
The garden also offers private day, evening and weekend guided tours for groups and gardening or any other leisure clubs. Please contact the garden for further information. There is a charge for the guide.
Directions to The Holmes
From the city centre go to the top of Whiteladies Road, at the junction and traffic lights go straight ahead across Durdham Down towards Stoke Bishop. At the traffic lights go straight ahead and take the first turning on the right into Stoke Park Road, The Holmes is 150 m on the right.
Members of the public wishing to support the work of the Botanic Garden should join the Friends of the Garden. For more information go to www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/BotanicGardens/friends/who.htm or write to Susan Redfern, The Membership Secretary, 24 Dublin Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4NA.
This year’s study tour travels to the stunning island of Sicily, where the spring flowers will be abundant and the temperature warm.