It stands in a large open space and is approached by an avenue of cypresses and eucalyptus.
Built partly on the low ground along the edge of the bay and partly on the hill to the north (a compact mass of mica schist), the city with its white houses enclosed by white walls runs up along natural ravines to the castle of the Heptapyrgion, or Seven Towers, and is rendered picturesque by numerous domes and minarets and the foliage of elms, cypresses and mulberry trees.
The leaves of the cypresses are scale-like, overlapping and generally in four rows; the female catkins are roundish, and fewer than the male; the cones consist of from six to ten peltate woody scales, which end in a curved point, and open when the seeds are ripe; the seeds are numerous and winged.
The canals between these clusters of houses were deepened and cleared out, and in some cases trees were planted along the banks, or fondamenta; we hear of the cypresses on San Giorgio Maggiore, of an ancient mulberry tree at San Salvadore, of a great elder tree near the Procuratie Vecchie where the magistrates were wont to tie their horses.
Among the ancients it was in request for poles, rafters, joists, and for the construction of winepresses, tables and musical instruments; and on that account was so valuable that a plantation of cypresses was considered a sufficient dowry for a daughter.
Other Californian cypresses are C. macrocarpa, the Monterey cypress, which is 60 ft.
The cypresses afford instances of tall and narrow trees similar in habit to Lombardy poplars.
In the swamps there are cypresses and some gum and bay trees.
Forty-six species occur, namely, 32 species of pitch trees (18 pines), 12 species of the cypresses and their allies (2 sequoia), and 2 species of yews or their allies.