Visit the Mediterranean Without Leaving Merano: The Sun Gardens

The Sun Gardens will sweep you into an exotic, Mediterranean world

Flowers in the Sun Gardens
The Sun Gardens

On the sun-kissed southern slopes of Merano’s botanical Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, you’ll find a themed garden that really captures the feel of the Mediterranean. Walking paths meander through the Sun Gardens, leading up the hill and offering spectacular views of the surrounding Alps. Fragrant dwarf shrubs alternate with evergreen woody plants. Cork and holm oaks evoke the original landscapes of the Mediterranean region. Below the castle, Italy’s northernmost olive grove thrives: here, the gnarled silhouette of a 700-year-old specimen makes quite an impression. In the summer, thousands of sunflowers bloom. Pines and cypresses flank old crop plants such as pomegranate, grape, mulberry and fig trees. There are also succulents from Mediterranean semideserts such as cacti, Euphorbia, aloes and agaves.

Forbidden Garden

Forbidden Garden

In this spine-chilling garden, Nichtlinde the Witch and Rostolph the Raven watch over a ragtag bunch of bizarre sculptures – symbols of the vilest work of witches – and many a poisonous plant.

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700-Year-Old Olive Tree

Olive Tree

This olive tree, which originates from Sardinia and is seven centuries old, weighed an incredible 5.8 tons when it was planted. A custom-built vehicle was needed to transport it: the circumference of its trunk is three meters and its diameter at chest height is 93 cm. The gnarled intrepid traveler features the striking silhouette characteristic of ancient olive trees, which are generally considered to be the most durable of crop plants.

Limonaia

Limonaia

The relaxing Lemon Terrace is the ideal place to enjoy la dolce vita of the Mediterranean. In addition to flowering and fruit-bearing lemon and orange trees, exotic kumquat trees, tangy citron trees and spectacular Buddha’s hand citron trees all grow here.

Succulents from the Semidesert

Succulents from the Semidesert

On Desert Hill, you’ll find cacti taller than a man and many other succulents, including African aloes, spurges and North American agaves. In winter, the whole structure is covered and protected from frost.