The Berlingieri marquises are the new owners of the Boldini’s painting depicting Donna Franca Florio, which will be put on display in Palazzo Mazzarino, one of their properties. The painting was the most valuable item amongst the furniture, sculpture and ceramics that went to auction last march from the Grand Hotel Villa Igiea, where it had been on display since 2005. Donna Franca, best known as the “Queen of Palermo”, was also nicknamed the “Star of Italy” by Kaiser Wilhelm II and described as “unique” by Gabriele D’Annunzio. She was beautiful, elegant, and fluent in four languages, she was the ambassador of a city that dreamt of being the economic and elite capital of Italy.
The Four Corners (Quattro Canti) are the symbolic centre of Palermo, where via Maqueda and Corso Vittorio Emanuele intersect under the eyes of Spanish Kings and patron saints. Palazzo Costantino Di Napoli rises there with its 8,700 sq.m of stuccoes, frescoes, stairways and 18th-century rooms.
A blast from the past in the heart of Palermo: inside the eighteenth-century rooms of Palazzo Torre Piraino in via Garibaldi stands the house-museum “Stanze al Genio”, born in 2008 with the purpose to make available to the public a rich collection of antique tiles collected in over thirty years and still growing.
A short walk from the Royal Palace and the Cathedral stands the historic Palace Conte Federico, one of the oldest and most important buildings in Palermo. Located between Via dei Biscottari and Piazza Conte Federico within the primitive walls of the city, is a place full of charm in which a mysterious atmosphere lingers: from the Punic walls, to the Casket Tower and the Masonic Ballroom, the palace is one of the most beautiful testimonies of Palermo’s aristocratic life.
In 1798 King Ferdinand of Bourbon, driven from Naples by the Neapolitan Revolution, took refuge with the royal family and its court in Palermo. Fond of hunting and nature, he chose as his private residence a small building in oriental style inside the Royal Park of Favorita, hunting reserve and place of delight of the Bourbon court. But this estate was not exclusively dedicated to leisure of the king and nobility, but the king himself wanted to plant extensive cultivation of citrus and other trees to devote himself to farming experiments.
Piana dei Colli is a wide plain in the north of the city, delimitated by the slopes of Mount Pellegrino. Around XVIII century in Palermo it spread the custom between the noble and aristocratic families to build sumptuous holiday residences in this area much cooler than the city center.
Chiaramonte Palace, best known as Steri, (from the Latin Hosterium = fortified palace), is located in the medieval district of Marina Square. Characterized by mullioned windows surmounted by arches and decorated with multicolored geometric patterns, it was the residence of the noble Chiaramonte family in 1300. From the early ‘600 was the seat of the Holy Inquisition with the torture chambers and prison cells where they were imprisoned all those who were accused of heresy or witchcraft.