La Mortella: The island surrounded by the garden

mortella arte


Dialogue with Alessandra Vinciguerra

Entering La Mortella is an experience that renews the sensitivity of the spirit. In March, the colors, transformed into a scale of chrome that passes through an autumn and a winter of decline, expose the newfound vigor that integrates elements like earth and water in the most varied forms of nature.
The trunk of the trees, the leaves, the flowers and the fruits represent layers of life reaching out to the sky and the hidden roots of the beliefs that support the gravity of a victorious harmony.
The meeting between the visible and the invisible, between heaven and earth, is celebrated here to our senses.
Today we meet Alessandra Vinciguerra, director of the garden, not in an interview, but in a dialogue that wants to highlight Philosophy, that “humanistic” side that sustains and maintains this island surrounded by another island, the human one.

The word “garden”, in fact, means a place surrounded, protected and concluded. A different habitat, where the careful plant geometries are organized in a peaceful existence.
Raffaele Mirelli: What does the word “work” mean to you, considering that for some philosophers, as for Aristotle, work represents the effort that human beings produce to enjoy free time.
Alessandra Vinciguerra: It is a vocation and for this, I consider myself lucky. For me, work is something inherent in my existence. I do not live it as a constraint, but as an essential part, constitutive of my being. Working means “providing care”.
Paraphrasing a philosopher, I would say: “I work, therefore I am!”
R.M .: What does the garden represent as a concept in general and what are the motivations that led it to take on this legacy?
A.V .: The legacy that has been entrusted to me is full of responsibility, primarily to those who preceded me, Lady Walton. Having known her personally and have been able to share with her directly the aims related to this great project, it was a privilege that changed me and the convictions related to this work. For me, the garden has become a place of sharing, as it was for her. It reaches its maximum splendor when there are visitors; it represents a place of thought, where the balances are in perfect harmony, in which matter and spirit combine.
R. M .: Is there, therefore, a connection between Philosophy and what you do in this garden with her collaborators?
A.V .: I studied Literature! You can therefore imagine that Philosophy as well as the Literature is closely connected to my work, indeed, as it is part of it. Moreover, for me the garden is a place of reading, of tranquility, where the forma mentis dictated by my formation is inevitably reflected.
R. M. What then does beauty represent in this totality of visions of which you are an ambassador? Are we talking about a mere aesthetic beauty, in the classic sense?
A. V .: Beauty is here as exterior and interior harmony. It represents a time of understanding between what is visible and what is invisible.
R. M. Here! Time, seasons. What is the time - in its flow - in this space?
A. V .: The fourth dimension of time is that of inner flow. Here time assumes for me the connotation of serenity. All gardeners are serene! I am also serene, like my collaborators. If then we want to look at the time as a projection, past or future, then I tell you an exemplary anecdote: when I worked in London, a woman who owned a garden, wanted to hide a kind of construction that had been placed in the middle of it, compromising the harmony. She showed me that she had planted oaks around that building and that, even if they were still young and therefore not so tall as to cover that imperfection, one day, in so many years, they would do it. What does this mean? Those who plant a tree often will not see its fruits; will not assist its development, growth.
This is a dimension of time; I know it through my work.
R. M .: A little like the relationship between parents and children? We will not see in toto the evolution, the growth.
A. V .: Yes, exactly! It is like making an investment of trust in the future. Behind every plant, there is a human story, a story that ties the past, the present and the future. Even at La Mortella I planted oaks and I know I will not see them in their full splendor.
R. M .: Are there any conflicts between the plants?
A. V .: No, absolutely. Instead, there are uncontrollable variables. For example: we often plant seeds with the belief that at that particular point they grow at their best, obviously appealing to our experience and our knowledge in the sector. Nature, however, puts us in front of unexpected situations: at that point, in fact, the plant cannot take root. It happened - after some time - that the same plant grew spontaneously in a corner of the garden different from the one we identified. Perhaps because the seed was brought there by the wind. This puts us in front of new situations and ways of knowledge that we have not calculated.
Plants live in peaceful harmony, they help each other, and they associate, creating real societies that share an end.
R. M .: What are the questions that are never asked in relation to your task, to your vocation? What prospects and desires are there for this island?
A. V .: I often redesign the garden outside this garden. I redesign the island according to the precepts of harmony and sharing that I have learned from others, from Lady Walton and from the plants. I would like to recreate the same harmony outside of La Mortella.
They never ask me if I’m happy for what I do. I would like to take this opportunity to say that I am!
R. M .: Galileo Galilei used to say: “Things are united by invisible bonds. Thou canst not stir a flower, without troubling of a star”. Do you believe in this?
A. V .: Of course! I do not know how this happens, but I think it is for real!

If the garden is a protected place, it is our task to defend it, to protect it and to learn what really does bind us to it. The people who make these places are as important as the places themselves, because thanks to their visions, to their work, these last over time. Each person who leads these design legacies, retains a coherent, philosophical, clear and enlightened vision of reality.
These are the real places of culture, of the present, made of thoughts, works and days, of time, of constancy and desire to know each other. Through them, our economy also benefits enormously.



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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029


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