WHERE THE TIME DURING
Villa Reimann enjoys a privileged view of the city: on the one hand it looks towards the Sea, enclosed in the great water of the great harbor; On the other is completely immersed in an impressive 35,000 square meters park. Inside you can admire an “Exotic Garden”, which has kept the fascination of the classic Italian gardens.
Villa Reimann is located not far from the Neapolis Archaeological Park. It was built in 1881 – the date inscribed in the gable at the back of the house – by Senator Cocuzza in honour of the Spanish singer Fegotto. On the 2nd of February, 1934, it was sold to Christiane Reimann for £95,000. The property covered some 27,000 sqm and boasted 500 lemon trees, as well as another 500 trees bearing other fruits. The original colour of the villa was a dark red, and the colour it bears now was chosen many years after Reimann’s death. The ground floor of the guest house was a garage and the upper floor was where the servants lived. The ground floor has now been turned into a conference room, while the upper level houses city offices.
Via Necropoli Grotticelle, 14 , Siracusa, SR, 96100
Full Ticket: € 5,00
Reduced ticket: € 3,00
(Under 18 / over 65 / Families / Schools / Teachers / Journalists / Military and Law Enforcement)
Reduced ticket: € 1,00
Disabled with accompanying person
tel. +39 329 24 17 142
WHO WAS CHRISTIAN REIMANN
Christiane Reimann was born in Copenhagen in 1888, the daughter of a wealthy stockbroker and Norwegian mother. We don’t know much about her early childhood or education, but it is clear she had a strong personality as, against her parents’ will, she managed to earn a degree in nursing and move to New York to work and study. Her high rank in the nursing profession, and her love of archaeology and nature, took her all over the world. She became so important, in fact, that an international award was created in her name, the Christiane Reimann Prize.
She came to Syracuse because she had fallen in love with a psychiatrist named Carl Frederik Alter, who convinced her to move in with him. The relationship was a difficult one and soon ended, but Christiane remained in Sicily in the house she had bought, what we now know as Ville Reimann.
The noblewoman spent her days caring for the fruit trees and the garden on her land, and when she discovered a necropolis she decided to excavate and organised the teams and the dig sites herself.
When Hitler invaded Denmark and Italy joined the war, Miss Reimann became a subject of mistrust on the part of the authorities, who forced her to move to nearby Floridia.
The situation improved when Allied forces landed, but the Villa, like all of those in the city, was requisitioned. Christiane, thanks to the intervention of the Danish delegation, was permitted to live in two rooms of the house and work as the private secretary of the British commander. When the war was over, the Villa was in terrible condition, and it took a long time before work to reconstruct and renovate it terminated.
Christiane died on 12 April, 1979. Her funeral was held at the church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, with very few in attendance. Her body now lies at rest in the monumental cemetery of Syracuse, her monumental gravestone made by the Associazione Italia Nostra in collaboration with the city of Syracuse.
A long road runs along the citrus grove known as the Garden of the Esperidi north of the Reimann Villa. To the south of the villa is an exotic garden for collectors, with a double ring of grass around a fountain, as called for in classic Italianate gardens. The grounds have sitting areas with tables, benches and vases. The main path is graced with columns on which statues recalling Greek mythology sit. All of the architectural elements are made of natural stone and have been sculpted by hand. The garden is made up of a large variety of plants – 150 or so species – set both in the earth and in vases. The thousand individual plants here are of great scientific importance, as well as serving educational purposes.
The large lawn in front of the entrance to the villa is home to a wide variety of thriving species.
The exotic garden is also where you’ll find the belvedere Christiane had built. She had a small tower with a stone spiral staircase constructed and then encircled it with various types of succulent plants. A small wooden gazebo was added so that she could gaze out over the landscape that leads all the way down to the island of Ortygia, the far end of Syracuse. On the top of the gazebo she placed a wind vane she herself made.
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