In a visionary architectural setting, seemingly carved into the rock, a phantasmagoria of different styles alternates between medieval evocations and Moorish elements, arranged on terraces among several recently-restored gardens.

The visionary brainchild of businessman Tommaso Bortolotti, created between 1835 until his death in 1872, derives its name from the German word Zu Zoll (Customs), because of the customs post in the village of Lavis, on the border between the County of Tyrol and the Episcopal principality of Trento. After falling into decay, the site was recently restored in a historical reconstruction based on existing documentation. The complex combined learned citations and naive elements with casual eclecticism. Against a dreamlike backdrop, architectural scenes of a crusader castle and a Renaissance palace, a spire and a staircase in Moorish style follow one another on different perspective planes. A complex irrigation system of cisterns and fountains made it possible to plant the terraced gardens, while greenhouses offer protection to the most delicate plants. From the bottom up, the terraces feature: the palazzo parterre with ground-cover plants, bulbous plants and herbaceous perennials; a formal secret garden; an orchard at the “crusader castle” with ornamental varieties of fruit trees; “themed” gardens with five steeply-sloping side terraces of flowering herbaceous perennials; a topiary plant-constructed green aviary; and the “upper pergola”, with its heirloom varieties of roses. A complex network of pathways, ranging from oblique staircases to sunken paths and internal passageways connects the different levels and has an aesthetic function, adding to the garden’s charms.