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:: Donnafugata castle

As one proceeds along the road from Ragusa to Santa Croce Camerina, one can admire Donnafugata Castle, an imposing construction immersed in one of the most evocative carob woods in the whole province, the scene of famous films including an episode in "The Jar" in the film Kaos, directed by the Taviani brothers. The castle's origins date back to the mid-17th cent., when the fief of Donnafugata was acquired by Vincenzo Arezzo La Rocca. The castle was continuously altered until the early years of the 20th cent., when Corrado Arezzo, Baron of Donnafugata and Senator of the Kingdom of Savoy, transformed the façade into what we see today.

The result is a summation of styles ranging from the Venetian Gothic of the elegant loggia that dominates the centre part, with its two-light windows surmounted by lacework and rose windows, to the late Renaissance style visible in the massive towers. The castle, which incorporates other previous construction, boasts some 122 rooms. On the piano nobile, at the top of the great stairway embellished with neoclassical statues, are the Hall of Coats of Arms, which gets its name from the heraldic symbols of the great Sicilian families painted on the walls, the Hall of Mirrors, decorated with stuccowork, the Billiard and Music Room, with trompe-l'oeils presenting landscape views, and the bedroom of the Princess of Navarre.

The Ladies' Drawing Room and the Smoking Room are refined in their décor, the latter presenting a number of interesting motifs recalling the function of pipes and tobacco. The luxuriant park, with its little temple, fountains, and "coffee-house", complete with loggias and Ionic columns, together with the rich sequence of rooms on the piano nobile, all combine together to make this the largest and most refined patrician country dwelling in south-east Sicily.

Details of the Donnafugata castle

(click on the photos to enlarge)

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