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Saint Rosalia Gardners

From Public Play Space Community


Albergherrilla + Carmela Dachille

Palermo, italy, 2010 - ongoing

We are in the hearth of the historic Centre of Palermo, really near to Mediterraneo Square Here a group of citizens started in 2010 to take care about this space: a small run-down flowerbed.

The name "i Giardinieri di Santa Rosalia" comes from a reflection on the little "sacredness" attributed to spaces and greenery in the city of Palermo, in neighborhoods such as the Albergheria. The "sacredness" is encountered in this neighborhood in the form of churches, altars, shrines, statues of Saints and Madonnas surrounded by flowers and photos. These elements that are now part of the urban furniture of the historic center of Palermo are the key to interpreting a world that still has symbols in which it recognizes itself.

In ancient times, plants and trees had been invested with this symbolic power and were the embodiment of divinity and mysticism, a bit like the statues of saints nowadays.
 Their hypothesis stems from the idea that by dedicating plants to Santa Rosalia, we could overcome this attitude of carelessness and little respect on the part of the inhabitants of the neighborhood towards plants and public greenery. Trying to devote ourselves to their saints we would like to get closer to them, to stimulate them to a different attitude thanks to the symbolicity with which we cover an object, a person, a place, a plant. After all, Santa Rosalia in Palermo is a real icon and a guarantee, invoked a little by everyone: from anti-fascists to the homeless, from the elderly to gardeners. In addition, for us its symbolic meaning is charged with an added value if we remember that she lived in the woods and had the name of a plant.

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