About ten kilometres outside Marina di Ragusa you will discover Donnafugata castle, a municipal property since 1982. Originally it belonged to the Arezzo family. During the nineteenth century Baron Corrado Arezzo de Spucches, altered it to how it looks today. Before reaching the castle, from any direction, you can admire the beautiful Iblea countryside crossed by the characteristic "dry walls", sprouting of Mediterranean maquis, enriched by centuries-old evergreen carob trees unique in Italy.
The castle is part of this setting, but in reality, we are looking at a stately home, rather than a castle, in the middle of a large estate; used by the owners as their summer home and to better manage the property and its productivity. Arriving at the castle there is a large courtyard bounded on the right and left by small houses, once used for storage of products and as homes for workers. The taste of the owners gave the stately home the appearance of a castle and so it is called today. It has a façade with two circular towers at the sides, a small terrace and an ogival loggia. The entire width is crenulated at the top, which gives the house the appearance of a fortress. The terrace is very special as enriched by very bizarre figures. A large portal leads into an internal courtyard where there is a monumental staircase leading to the first-floor, that is the master or noble floor. There are a hundred and twenty-two rooms here, but only twenty-two can be visited. Several have specific functions, the music room, the picture gallery, the billiard room, the hall of mirrors, the drawing room, the hall of the bishop and that of the Sicilian heraldic shields. The furnishings are still original, so the visitor can truly immerse themselves in the life of the Sicilian nobility from the nineteenth century.
In addition, the Castle houses an original and rich collection of period dresses from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. Behind the castle, there is a large park of about eight hectares with high ficus trees, Mediterranean and exotic vegetation. Take note of a stairway with sphinxes in stone that delimit it. Walking through the park, you will notice parts in English, French and Mediterranean styles, you will also encounter some interesting corners thanks to the presence of an artificial cave, a stone labyrinth and a coffee house. Both the castle and the park have repeatedly been used as sets for the television series of Inspector Montalbano and are used for exhibitions, cultural and artistic events often.
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The castle of Donnafugata is a magical, unique and enchanting place, almost impossible to describe, therefore requiring a personal visit! In the photos it is possible to admire the external spaces such as the Venetian gothic façade, the rich gardens with ultra centenarian plants, the Coffee-house and the famous labyrinth; while internally the rooms furnished in the late nineteenth-century style with furniture, frescoes and original workmanship. Many of these areas have been used several times in the stories of Inspector Montalbano.