Florence Trevelyan, cousin to Queen Victoria, arrived to Taormina in 1884 at the age of 32. She bought Isola Bella in 1890, a rocky outcrop only attached to the mainland by a narrow sandy path off the coast below Taormina, built a house and established a garden there. In among the native Mediterranean plants, she planted non-native trees, rare shrubs and grasses. It became the home of various sea birds and some interesting lizards.
She married Salvatore Cacciola, a well-known resident of Taormina and for many years its mayor, and moved into the town.
There she acquired several parcels of land on the steep hillside below the via Bagnoli Croce and embarked on the creation of another garden, calling it “Hallington Siculo”. This was a private, shaded, pleasure garden from which there are views of both the sea and Mt. Etna. Again she imported non-native plants, but the garden is most noteworthy for the extraordinary buildings constructed from different kinds of stone, cloth, brick, pipes and other architectural salvage.
The area was given to Taormina after Florence’s death and is now part of a much larger municipal park.