The Kolymbetra Garden. Agrigento – Italy
The ancient water paths: from memory to re-use

The Kolymbetra Garden in the heart of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento is a vibrant example of a landscape made by human culture. It was made by farmers from Agrigento who skillfully adopted innovations brought by Greeks and Arabs. In an area very low on water, poorly suited to growing citrus fruits and vegetables by nature, the Kolymbetra valley is all the more unique. To this day, the form of the land and underground tunnels (dug by Greek architects starting in 480 BC) capture deep waters from the hill of Girgenti and bring it to the farmland.

In such a setting, water was inevitably the design’s focal point.

Water is the fundamental component of the landscape and continues to determine, as it always has, its form. Water is a continuous, interrupted line connecting past and present embodied in the mysterious underground paths from which it gushes into the valley. It is the source of life for the garden and its orange and lemon trees.

Yet water also poses a risk for Kolymbetra’s survival due to erosion and the danger that an exceptional flood could happen again in coming years.

Water must be governed and managed to protect the garden from its risks and to allow its irrigation.

Lastly, water is something to uncover, show off, where the Garden’s magnificent colors are reflected.


“The Kolymbetra garden. The ancient water paths: from memory to re-use”
Tormenta e ìmpetu – Storm & stress
Catalog of the fifth European Biennial of Landscape Architecture Barcelona
Fundacion Caja de arquitectura, 2010, Barcelona, Spain

Antonella Bondì
“Il giardino della Kolymbetra – Valle dei Templi di Agrigento”
on Progetto Giardino n°13 2009
Di Baio Editore, Milan, Italy

Luca Baroni
“Turismo cult Agrigento: prezioso rurale” – Kolymbetra
on Architettura del Paesaggio n°19 settembre/dicembre 2007
Paysage Editore, Milan, Italy


“Ippolito Pizzetti” prize 2008
For the promotion of quality design and landscape design culture
AIAPP (Italian Association of Landscape Architecture), Rome

Landscape award from the Council of Europe 2008
Selection as the Italian candidate
Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Rome
Selected among the top ten