Winter 2020/21

Our own Private Castle

On our way back from one of the nearby towns, we turned off the main road and found ourselves driving along country lanes edged with dry stone walls and overlooking green fields which looked more like the Peak District than the scenery you would expect to see in Sicily.

As we turned a corner, the white stone walls of Donnafugata Castle appeared on a low hill that overlooks the fields below. We were not expecting to see this bad boy guarding the castle.

We parked the car next to some cuter baby cows, they were very friendly, one came and stuck his head through the window to say hello.

The Castle of Donnafugata is a mixture of styles from different periods and tastes. It can be traced to the 14th century although most of its current appearance belongs to the 19th.

This major redevelopment was carried out by the Baron Corrado Arezzo De Spucches, an important Sicilian politian, who transformed the facade into what can be seen today, with a mixture of styles from Gothic-Venetian tradition to Renaissance style. In 1982 the Donnafugata Castle was sold to the Council of Ragusa becoming one of the most famous landmarks of the region.

In reality it is no longer a castle, but a palatial mansion with 122 rooms of which 28 are accessible to the public displaying original period decoration, trompe l’oeil ceilings, traditional furniture and spectacular chandeliers. We were the only visitors at the time so had the place to ourselves, it was like we had our own private castle.

Although you cannot really see this from the photographs, much of the authentic decoration and furniture is now looking a little ‘shabby shabby’ rather than ‘shabby chic’ but as we walked through the rooms we found ourselves being transported back in time to the 19th century.

Above is the Music Room with painted Sicilian landscapes and a variety of piano’s. There seemed to be a room to fulfil every function including entertainment, games, a picture gallery and library. There were also bedrooms with connecting drawing rooms for each member of the family plus numerous guest rooms, the decoration of each dependent on status of the visitor.

The castle has 3 floors of which we were able to freely walk around the first floor, we didn’t see any kitchens or servants quarters. Here are some pictures of a few of the rooms.

The Smoking Room is appropriately decorated with pipes and playing cards.

An 18th Century Venetian Murano glasswork chandelier in the Ladies Room

The Billiard Room had further painted landscapes, a decorative ceiling and raised seats all around for spectators

The Bishops bedroom and drawing room were the most elaborate of the guest quarters

The Hall of Mirrors would have been a great location for our Mamma Mia party, it is a smaller copy of the Room of Mirrors in Versaille and was used for dancing and parties.

The Coat of Arms Hall is a Medieval style boardroom with approximately 750 emblems of noble Sicilian familes.

The well stocked Library

After spending some time looking all around the inside we still had 8 hectares of gardens to explore, but we will save that until next week! To be continued…….

3 replies on “Our own Private Castle”

As always, Friday sunshine from Sicily, and very reminiscent of the Peak District.
It looks so like weekends before lockdown – visiting a National Trust property etc.
Did the tea-room serve Earl Grey?
Looking forward to next week’s episode.

Liked by 1 person

Looks great, and how fantastic to have the place to yourselves. I love to see to obligatory fire extinguisher in these places. There are so ‘not period’.
I bet you were also transported back to your house here in the uk! I bet there are many similarities 🙂
As always, it is lovely to see some lovely weather shots. Wishing you well for the week ahead.

Liked by 1 person

It may have looked like the Peak District but the weather is certainly better! 🌧💨🌬 Not sure I would have been happy with the cow poking it’s head in the car. I quite like the furniture in the castle. Your blog has taken me away from wet and windy home for a few minutes so thank you! Xx

Liked by 1 person

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