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Portrait of Carlo Gemmellaro
In May 1845 Prof. Tornabene and Prof. C. Gemmellaro, together with the rector and chancellor's secretary, were given the task of finding a suitable location "not..in the centre of town but neither too distant from it for access by scholars and for public use ..." (TORNABENE 1887)

The engineer Lorenzo Maddem was initially made responsible for technical problems and on 28 June 1845 the deputation deliberated on the acquisition of land for the founding of the Botanical gardens in the Borgo district, along Stesicoro-Etna street (Via Etnea today).

On 9 January 1847, following Tornabene's continual entreaties, the land of Carmelo Ferlito was finally purchased and, successively, for the expansion of the garden, other adjacent areas belonging to Domenico Lizzio, Carmelo Consoli, Ignazio Giuffrida, Salvatore Mauro and Giovanni Verga.

Further years, however, were to pass before the creation of the Botanical gardens. The sacking of the engineer Maddem’s house during the 1848 revolution with the consequent loss of plans and the lack of assigning funds delayed the beginning of work. Only in 1854 a fund for the garden maintenance was agreed and in 1856 the task of planning the buildings given to Mario Distefano, Professor of Architecture at the University.