The Garden of Palazzo Granafei
Palazzo Granafei is the eighteenth-century residence of the Marquis Granafei, whose family acquired feudal tenure of Sternatia in 1733. Construction of the Palazzo is attributed to the Lecce-based architect Mauro Manieri.
The Palazzo’s two decorative gardens respectively adorn the south and north sides of the building. The south-side garden occupies the ground floor and is probably the older of the two; it accommodates some stone seats and two locally fashioned cisterns. A colonnade provides shaded pathways which, in turn, give way to trees (mainly citrus) planted in patches of bare earth.
The second, north-side area is known as the "flower garden". Various late Baroque
features suggest that said flower garden was created at the end of the 18th century; further evidence to this effect consists in the engraving of the year “1769” on the protective railing of a well in the garden. The garden is arranged on three levels, the first of which is contiguous with the salon, and hence is accessible directly from the main social area of the Palazzo. Two symmetrical ramps that branch off from the first level lead to a lower garden. The space is here divided by paved paths into small, square flower beds, each bordered by a stone base and planted with orange, mandarin and medlar trees. Smaller and differently shaped flower beds lie behind some stone columns.
The purpose of these beds was that of cultivating flowers and aromatic herbs; the Granafei probably purchased these plants from the Duke of Poggiardo and used them to produce decoctions and oils. In one corner of this area there is a coffee house that resembles the structure of a sentry box - its circular form is surmounted by pierced domenica, while the interior offers a seat and a wall “draped” with paintings.
Images of bucolic landscapes decorate arched apertures in the wall that distinguishes the first from the second garden levels. The second level is delineated by an ornamental parapet on both the east and west sides of the Palazzo; said parapet features stone seats that alternate with flower pots carved into the supporting walls. A further feature of this level is a sunken, concave space that could be the vestige of a disused fountain. A staircase provides access to the third and final level; what catches the eye here are a finely sculpted, elegant stone seat and a sunken well flanked by two water basins.
Disclaimer: The information and the text about the garden are provided by the owners