Situated in a landscape dominated by rocky outcrops – in the local dialect, the word for stone is “cute”– this garden is unique in southern Italy for its succulents, as well as being one of the country’s most successful experiments in modern botanical collecting.

Salvatore Cezzi’s passion for succulents, developed on travels as a young man when he acquired a large number of specimens from all over the world, spawned this garden. Divided into thematic sections, it is arranged along a path that starts out from the two most striking environments, the rock garden and the greenhouse. The rock garden is predominantly a collection of agaves, Opuntia and other varieties of Cactaceae; the greenhouse is filled with many specimens of subtropical and tropical plant, many of which are remarkable for their size. Arbours of trailing roses and fragrant jasmine mark out the transitions between the different gardens. The garden’s highlights are: a natural pond for collecting rainwater, planted with papyrus, water lilies and other hygrophilous plants such as bamboo, water hyacinth, and yellow-flowering irises; the “Italian garden”, its geometrically-arranged flowerbeds adorned with topiary boxwood; a medicinal herb garden for therapeutic use; a rose garden, with a collection of roses ancient and modern and the intoxicating scent of damask roses; a wood of centuries-old holm oaks, one of the few remaining examples in the Salento area; and last but not least, a secret garden, hidden away in an evocative stone quarry, planted with tree ferns and plants of subtropical origin.