CASTLE OF DONNAFUGATA
name. which is Arabic in origin, is misleading. It does not, in
fact, refer, as first appearances might suggest, to a woman fleeing
some tyrannical husband or father, nor to one of the legends lingering
in some popular memory, but is a free interpretation and transcription
of Ayn as Jafat (meaning Fountain of Health) which in Sicilian dalect
became Ronnafuata and so was corrupted to its modem form.
origins of the building, furthermore, are more recent than the name.
The oldest part (which includes the square tower) dates back to
the mid-17C when the Donnafugata fiefdom was acquired by Vincenzo
Arezzo La Rocca. The building was continuously altered until the
early 20C, when Corrado Arezzo transformed the façade into
what can be seen today.
is striking about the exterior of the castle is the elegant Venetian
Gothic loggia which dominates the central section of the main facade.
The trefoil arches become a recurrent motif repeated in the two-light
windows throughout the building.
large garden, shaded first by large Ficus magnolioides trees then
by other Mediterranean and exotic species (succulents and cluster
pines) conceals various follies intended to charm and bemuse its
visitors. Like the round temple and a Coffee House (where refreshments
could be taken), the stone maze and several artificial caves encrusted
with fake stalactites (below the temple).
first floor is open to the public. At the top of the black stone
(pietra pece in Italian) staircase, ornamented with Neo-Classical
statues, is the Salone degli Stemmi named after the armorial crests
of great Sicilian noble families painted on the walls. Among the
suites of rooms are some with delicately painted trompe l’oeil
ceilings. These include the stucco-decorated Salone degli Specchi
(namely the Hall of Mirroms), the Billiard Room and Music Room,
each with painted landscapes projecting out beyond the walls, and
the bedroom of the Princess of Navarre, paved in black pietra pece
(a bitumous limestone mined locally from which pitch is made) and
white limestone, where, it is said, Princess Bianca was kept segregated
from Count Cabrera (an anachronistc legend, given that the princess
lived in the 14C). The Stanza del Signore and the Fumoir are beautifully
furnished; the decoration of the latter, a smoking room, being perfectly
to its function. It is papered with pipe motifs while the ceiling
is painted with medallions filled with cards and beautiful peacocks
at the corners.
castle has been featured in the making of many famous films including
scene in the film Chaos by the Taviani brothers.
Castello di Donnafugata
Marina di Modica
Marina di Ragusa
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