Donnafugata Castle in Ragusa city

Inside the Sicilian aristocracy

By Unione Nazionale Pro Loco d'Italia di Ragusa

The castle       

The Castle of Donnafugata was a rural villa. The current appearance was made in the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the '900. It is composed by of 122 rooms.

Vincenzo Arezzo bought the villa in 1648. He becoming the first Baron of Donnafugata. At the time the building was little more than a tower with a fence to protect a vast fiefdom, the so-called Torrevecchia or Torre di Bianca.

The castle's structure

The entrance to the castle is characterized by a large portal. The ground floor was used for warehouses and for the servants, while the upper floors guested the family's holiday, according to the typical model of the farms

First floor

The main floor, which was accessed by the large entrance staircase in pitch stone, consisted of three rooms.

 The first room was called the room of the Skylight because of the absence of windows and with a lantern in the center of the vault. It represents the first reception room.

Particular are the following two rooms because they represent the society of that time: a sitting room dedicated to men and a larger room dedicated to women.

The music room

In this room, we can find a German piano and three cylinder pianos, otherwise known as Barberia accordions, very popular instruments at the time used to cheer up the evenings and dance

the room is decorated with illusionistic wings of green Corinthian columns from which you can see glimpses of sometimes recognizable landscapes (such as the Casina Cinese of the Favorita garden, the botanical garden of Palermo or Etna).

The pictorial decoration continues on the vault with the symbols of Apollo surrounded by zodiac signs that it is difficult not to read through a symbolic plan, also considering the belonging of Baron Arezzo to the circle of Freemasonry.

The billiard room

In this room the game of trompe d'oeil gives the image of a velarium supported by a gazebo that leaves room for lake and sea landscapes on the walls. The seats are in a raised position to follow the game of billiards.

The Bishop's Room

In the room of the Bishop, who was a frequent visitor to these environments, we find a large painting with a religious subject in which a kneeling angel holds a "impanata" (a sort of bread), typical local food, in a tribute to the Sicilian gastronomic tradition.

The hall of coats of arms

On the walls are painted about 750 coats of arms of the Sicilian noble families with the exception of the coat of arms French which is reproduced on the door that leads to the anti-library to honor the family of Viscount Combes de Lestrade (XII Baron of Donnafugata).

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