Sumptuous and magnificent, Biscari Palace is one of the most important noble palace in Catania and its mirrors, stucco and decorations, are of inestimable value. The Palace is also the perfect venue for a gala dinner or lunch where discover an almost forgotten piece of our culinary tradition, the baroque cuisine, carried out by French chefs during the 18th and 19th centuries in many Sicilian noble palaces.
After the 1693 earthquake which destroyed almost the entire city, Ignazio Paternò Castello III, Prince of Biscari, obtained permission to build the new family palace on the ramparts of Charles Vth’s 16th century city walls. The work lasted more than a century and the major architects, sculptures and the most important decorators of the time collaborated in its realization.
The palace reached its peak with Ignazio V Prince of Biscari, an eclectic, an enthusiast of art, literature and above all archaeology. The Grand Tour travellers Riesdel and Brydone personally participated in the excavations that, under the direction of the Prince, unearthed the Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Stesicoro.
There were six hundred rooms in the Palace, however, it is now only possible to visit the courtyard, some rooms, the ballroom, the gallery, and the terrace overlooking the port.
In the entrance hall, some of the 18th century canvases representing the Biscari estate are hung, depicting vast vineyards and the flourishing production of silk worms. We then enter the quadreria, the gallery or collection of paintings, with the exquisite multi-coloured majolica floor, created by master Vietri artisans.
The centre hall, or ballroom, is a sumptuous rococò style room, with mirrors, stucco and decorations: on the cupola of the music loggia gallery, Vulcano celebrates in the council of the gods the triumph of the Paternò Castello lineage. The musicians reached the loggia by climbing up a tremulous “cloud shaped” stair, as Prince Ignazio referred to it.
On the first floor is a suite with three rooms, with elaborate boiseries panelling, wood inlay, mirrors, frescos, porcelain and chinoiserie. The walls in the last room are lined with a rose wood boiserie, with wood inlay which creates an intertwine of branches and pagoda motif; the far end opens into a small fresco painted alcove, on the side of which there is a large, deep, high walled marble bath which served as an internal fountain, creating a pleasant refreshing corner.
|From the Sicilian Cart to the three-wheeled Piaggio Ape||The market “a fera ‘o luni”|
|From the Sicilian Cart to the three-wheeled Piaggio Ape|
|The market “a fera ‘o luni”|