The Cistercians Garden

The Garden of the Cistercians: medicinal plants and herbs in Novara di Sicilia

The garden of the Cistercians born from the desire to resume and develop old traditions of Novara di Sicilia, village characterized by a long history strongly connected to the medicinal and food plants.

During the domination of Sicily by the Arabs, in the centuries IX-X centuries A.D., the name of the village was Nouah, which means garden, vegetable garden or flower.

The first Cistercian abbey in Sicily

In the Norman period in Novara di Sicilia it was founded the first Cistercian abbey in Sicily: the Vallebona monastery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In the sixteenth century the monastery was rebuilt in the town, forming the new Abbey of Santa Maria La Noara, which today remains the church and the monastery.

The Hortus conclusus

Inside the monastery there was a special area dedicated to the plants and herbs: the Hortus conclusus, a garden, usually small in size, surrounded by high walls, where the monks cultivated mainly plants and trees for food and medicinal purposes. The choice of plants and herbs placed in the Garden of the Cistercians inspired by the cultivation of medicinal herbs in the Middle Ages. In particular they have been taken as reference the "Capitulare de villis" of Charlemagne (748-814 A.D.) and the "Liber de cultura hortorum" of Valafrido Strabone (808-849 A.D.).

Ancient flavors and herbs

The 'Liber de cultura hortorum' describes in poetic form the properties of the 23 officinal herbs grown in the garden and lists their uses. The transmission of ancient knowledge and remedies can enrich the collective knowledge and closer to the earth. The "Capitulare de villis" instead prescribes the 72 plants that need to be cultivated in gardens for food use.

The Garden of the Cistercians of OldNoar

The garden of the Cistercian at OldNoar, in addition to enhancing the area and the ancient traditions, will gain a greater awareness of the importance of cultivating and taking care of medicinal herbs and aromatic plants, allowing visitors to eat in a more healthy and natural way.

Among the medicinal plants you will find:
  • Stevia
  • Peppermint
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Hypericum
  • Sage
  • Wormwood
  • Common horehound
  • Wild fennel
  • Chervil
  • Agrimonia eupatoria
  • Horseradish
  • Cumin
Among the herbs you will find instead:
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Common radish
  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Anise
  • Juniper
  • Marjoram
  • Licorice