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Thursday, 6 March 2008

The Villa of Monsters

Gnomes, dragons, jesters, musicians and symbols of a mysterious esoteric language are all part of what has been defined as "the most original villa in the world and famous throughout Europe".

Villa Palagonia's construction began in 1715, on behalf of Don Ferdinando Gravina and Crujllas, 5th Prince of Palagonia, Peer of the Realm, Knight of Toson d'Oro, a prestigious honour bestowed by the king of Spain. Sicilians never figured it out whether the prince was a bit nuts or simply possessed a very creative mind, but Villa Palagonia has a strong appeal for everyone.

The decorations atop the stables that surround the Villa are indeed the best part. Here you will notice that the statues seems to fall over one another as they prance around. Was this another weird decorative idea that went too far or was the Prince trying to tell us something? Some experts believe the surreal statues were commissioned to represent the lovers of the Prince's faithless wife...

Villa Palagonia is in Bagheria, a coastal town only a short drive from Palermo. Bagheria is not a particulary attractive town per se, but like a pearl in an oyster, the villa reveals itself...

In 1885 the villa was acquired by the Castronovo family, which thanks to its heirs, still today make it possible to visit one of the most extraordinary monuments of European baroque, created in the land of Sicily.

Open to the public every day from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 17:30 (from 1st November - 31st March)
from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00(from 1st April - 31st October)

Piazza Garibaldi, 3 - 90011 Bagheria (PA) Tel.091/932088 - Fax 091/922118

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