All Palaces in Sicily

In Italy, a residence of a nobleman, usually larger than a regular house, is called palazzo, a term translated into English as palace. In the past, besides residences, the palazzi also functioned as warehouses and office spaces. Many cities in Italy have a Palazzo Ducale, the seat of the local lord. Probably, the city with the most palaces is Venice, mostly located on the banks of the Grand Canal.

Maybe the most important palaces in Italy are Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Palazzo Reale in Caserta, Doge’s Palace in Venice, Palazzo Reale in Milan, Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, Palazzo Reale in Naples, Palazzo della Ragione in Padua and Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia. With so many palaces, it is hard to decide which are the most beautiful and worth visiting, and that is why we suggest that you visit them all.

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    Palazzo Municipale

    Palazzo Municipale (Municipal Palace), also known as Loggia Giuratoria or Palazzo della Città (City Palace), is a Baroque palace in Acireale, located across Piazza del Duomo from the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Annunziata, next to the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. Palazzo Municipale houses the seat of the Municipality of Acireale.   SHORT HISTORY Begun in 1659, Palazzo Municipale was badly damaged in 1693 by the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto. The reconstruction, based on a design by the architect Constantino Larcidiacon, lasted throughout the 18th century. Damaged again by the earthquakes of 1783 and 1818, the palace was restored in 1908, undergoing profound structural changes.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The main facade overlooking Piazza del Duomo, built in late Baroque style, is punctuated by elegant ashlar pilasters. On the ground floor, there is a long balustrade interrupted only by the entrance portal. On the first floor, the balconies, with wrought iron railings, are supported by Baroque masks. Other things worth mentioning regarding the design of the palace are the municipal coat of arms, placed above the portal, the epigraphs of the atrium, which constitute a sort of secular marble newspaper of the city, and the fresco Italy, Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Tezzano

    Palazzo Tezzano is a Baroque palace in Catania, located in Piazza Stesicoro, near the Roman Amphitheater of Catania and the Church of San Biagio.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Tezzano was built starting with 1709 on a project by the architect Alonzo di Benedetto, at the behest of the count and physician Niccolò Tezzano. Later, the count donated the palace to the city of Catania, and the building was transformed into a hospital between 1720 and 1727. In 1837, due to the economic difficulties of the hospital, a part of the palace was rented by the Bourbon Intendency Office, to house its archive. A few years later, around 1844, some sections of the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Criminal Chancellery were also installed in the palace. The hospital was transferred between 1878 and 1880 in a building adjacent to the Church of San Nicolò l’Arena, and changed its name to Vittorio Emanuele II Hospital. After the transfer of the hospital, Palazzo Tezzano remained the seat of the Court until the construction of the new headquarters in Piazza Giovanni Verga, completed and inaugurated in 1953. The palace currently houses the Ceramographic Archive of the University of Catania, consisting of thousands of reproductions Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Arezzo Della Targia

    Palazzo Arezzo Della Targia is a palace situated in Piazza del Duomo, on the Ortygia island, in Syracuse. The palace is located across the square from the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, between Palazzo Beneventano Del Bosco, to the north, and the Palace of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Syracuse, to the south.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Arezzo Della Targia was built in the first half of the 18th century at the behest of the powerful Arezzo family, Barons of a fiefdom located in Targia (northern suburbs of Syracuse), with various other possessions scattered throughout the city (from Cassibile to Augusta). The palace was built after a design by the architect Luciano Alì.   ARCHITECTURE The palace has a curvilinear shape, following the elliptical shape of Piazza del Duomo. The facade of the palace, on two levels, is divided in 9 sectors by ten pillars in Ionic style. The facade has four large portals, separated from each other by rectangular windows. On the second floor, there are nine balconies enclosed by railings. On the southern facade, there is another portal in Baroque style, flanked by two other balconies also enclosed in wrought iron.   HOW Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici

    Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici (Palace of the Seminary of the Clerics) is a Baroque palace in Catania, located across the Piazza Duomo from the Palazzo degli Elefanti, near the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY During the Aragonese period, on the site of the present palace, there was the ancient structure of the Bishop’s Palace. In 1572, the archbishop Antonio Faraone founded the seminary of the clerics, and some rooms of the palace were reserved for this institution. Beginning with 1614, Bonaventura Secusio, Bishop of Catania between 1609 and 1618, established the seminary headquarters in the building. On May 29, 1647, during the anti-Spanish revolt of Catania, the palace was severely damaged. In 1693, the building was completely destroyed by the earthquake of Val di Noto. In the first decades of the 18th century, the palace was rebuilt by the architect Alonzo di Benedetto, and subsequently enlarged in 1757 by Francesco Battaglia. In 1866, the architect Mario Di Stefano further expanded the structure, by building the second floor. Beginning with 1943, due to the Second World War, the seminarians left the building, which was later damaged by bombing. In 1944, the palace was acquired by the Municipality of Catania, Read more [...]

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    Palazzo degli Elefanti

    Palazzo degli Elefanti (Palace of the Elephants), formerly known as Palazzo del Senato, is a Baroque palace in Catania, located in Piazza Duomo, close to the Cathedral of Sant’Agata. The name of the palace derives from the numerous elephants carved on its facade.   SHORT HISTORY During the Aragonese period, the palace, called Palazzo Senatorio, served as a municipal archive. The city representatives gathered in the palace and, sometimes, also the parliament assembled within its walls. Lope Ximénez de Urrea y de Bardaixi, Viceroy of Sicily between 1443 and 1475, ordered that all the official documents of the Kingdom and the various writings related to the Aragonese sovereigns to be collected and kept in the archives of the palace. After the earthquake of 1693, which destroyed almost completely the city of Catania, numerous architects participated in the reconstruction of the palace. The original project was carried out by Giovan Battista Longobardo, with the collaboration of Giovanni Battista Vaccarini, who built the east, south and west facades, and of Carmelo Battaglia, who designed the north facade. The grand staircase found in the inner courtyard of the palace was built in the 19th century by Stefano Ittar. On December 14, 1944, following Read more [...]

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    Palazzo San Giuliano

    Palazzo San Giuliano is a beautiful palace in Catania, located across the University Square from the Palace of the University. The palace houses the administrative offices of the University of Catania.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in 1738 by the architect Giovan Battista Vaccarini for the Paternò family, Marquise of San Giuliano. The seismic events that took place over time have not affected the 18th-century structure, but the transformations made during the 19th and 20th centuries changed more or less its internal and external appearance. The building was remodeled several times, but the facade remained almost intact from the moment of its construction. Only the balustrade that crowns the roof was added in 1930s, when the palace was the seat of Credito Italiano, one of the first Italian banks. In the early 20th century, the palace hosted the Machiavelli Theater, founded by Angelo Grasso. Around the same time, a part of the building was occupied by the Hotel Bristol.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace has a large portal that overlooks the University Square, flanked by two marble columns recovered, probably, from a Roman building. Above the portal, there is a double coat of arms – to Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dell’Università

    Palazzo dell’Università (Palace of the University) is a beautiful palace in Catania, located in the square with the same name, along Via Etnea. The palace is the seat of the Rectorate of the University of Catania, the oldest university in Sicily.   SHORT HISTORY The University of Catania was founded on October 19, 1434, by Alfonso the Magnanimous, King of Naples and Sicily. On April 18, 1444, the constitution of the University was authorized by a papal bull of Pope Eugene IV. The courses began on October 19, 1445, with six professors, and were initially held in a building from Piazza Duomo, near the Cathedral of Sant’Agata. In 1684, the University was transferred to the San Marco Hospital until 1693, when the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto destroyed most of the buildings in Catania, including the building in question. In 1696, work began on the construction of a new building, which will become the definitive location of the University. After the earthquake of 1785, the architect Francesco Battaglia rebuilt the facade of the palace. Subsequently, following the earthquake of 1818, a further restoration was necessary, which was entrusted to the architect Antonino Battaglia, the son of Francesco. Further and Read more [...]

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    Palace of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Syracuse

    The Palace of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Syracuse (Palazzo della Sovrintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Siracusa) is a palace in Syracuse, located in Piazza del Duomo, on the island of Ortigia, across the square from the Archbishop’s Palace and the Cathedral of Syracuse. The palace is also known as the Numismatic Cabinet, due to the fact that it houses a permanent exhibition of ancient coins.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the second half of the 19th century, on the site of a deconsecrated convent, known as the Convent of San Giovanni di Dio, which housed the seat of the Archaeological Museum of Syracuse, now transferred in Viale Teocrito, in the modern part of the city.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace, with two orders, was built in Neoclassical style. On the ground floor, there is the large portal and four rectangular windows. On the upper order, we can find five arched windows, separated by pilasters with Ionic capitals. Inside, there is the numismatic collection of Greek, Roman and medieval coins, many of which were found in Syracuse.   HOW TO GET THERE The Palace of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Syracuse is located Read more [...]

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    Archbishop’s Palace

    The Archbishop’s Palace (Palazzo Arcivescovile) is a palace in Syracuse, located on the island of Ortygia, in Piazza Duomo, adjacent to the Cathedral of Syracuse. The palace is the seat of the Archdiocese Of Syracuse, and houses the Archiepiscopal Seminary and, also, the ancient Alagonian Library.   SHORT HISTORY The original building was a palace of the Swabian era, built during the times of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, around the year 1200. Today, the only trace of this palace is an ancient chapel, well preserved, located inside the courtyard of the present 19th century building. This Swabian construction presents some cross vaults very reminiscent of the Maniace Castle. The palace underwent important changes in the Aragonese era. After the demolition of the first building, the current structure was commissioned by the Spanish bishop Juan de Torres Osorio of Syracuse, and the work began in 1618, under the supervision of the architect Andrea Vermexio. The structure of the Archbishop’s Palace, as we know it today, is the result of the systematic restorations made during the 18th and the 19th centuries, which transformed the building into a late Baroque style palace tending towards Neoclassicism. The building was inaugurated in 1854, by Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Ducezio

    Palazzo Ducezio, the seat of the Town Hall of Noto, is a beautiful palace located across Piazza del Municipio from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The palace was named in honor of Ducezio, King of the Sicels and founder of Noto.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was designed by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra in 1746, inspired by some French palaces of the 17th century, but was completed only in 1830. The second floor of the palace was built in the first half of the 20th century by the architect Francesco La Grassa.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The convex facade of the palace is characterized by twenty arches supported by columns with Ionic capitals in the lower section, and by thirteen rectangular windows in the upper section. Inside, we can find Sala degli Specchi (Hall of Mirrors), an oval-shaped hall decorated at the end of the 19th century with stuccos and sumptuous mirrors. Over time, the Hall of Mirrors received the visit of many heads of state. At the beginning of the 1930s, on the occasion of the official visit of Umberto and Maria Josè of Savoy, the hall was restored by the painter Gregorietti. The furniture was made by the Read more [...]