Donnafugata Castle - Sicilyincoming

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Sicily Guide > Ragusa province



Immersed among the carob trees and surrounded by an immense park, bought in 1982 by the Provincial Administration of Ragusa, the castle of Donnafugata represents one of the most interesting and spectacular destinations among the tourist itineraries of the province.
The 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 dialect became “Ronnafuata” and then the present day “Donnafugata”.
The castle's origins date back to the mid-17th cent., when the fief of Donnafugata was acquired by Vincenzo Arezzo La Rocca. The castle was continuously altered until the early years of the 20th century, when Corrado Arezzo, Baron of Donnafugata and Senator of the Kingdom of Savoy, transformed the façade into what we see today. The result is a summation of styles ranging from the Venetian Gothic of the elegant loggia that dominates the centre part, with its two-light windows surmounted by lacework and rose windows, to the late Renaissance style visible in the massive towers.
The castle, which incorporates other previous construction, boasts some 122 rooms. On the piano nobile, at the top of the great stairway embellished with neoclassical statues, are the Hall of Coats of Arms, which gets its name from the heraldic symbols of the great Sicilian families painted on the walls, the Hall of Mirrors, decorated with stuccowork, the Billiard and Music Room, with trompe-l'oeils presenting landscape views, and the bedroom of the Princess of Navarre. The Ladies' Drawing Room and the Smoking Room are refined in their décor, the latter presenting a number of interesting motifs recalling the function of pipes and tobacco.

The luxuriant park, with its little temple, fountains, and "coffee-house", complete with loggias and Ionic columns, together with the rich sequence of rooms on the piano nobile, all combine together to make this the largest and most refined patrician country dwelling in South-East Sicily.

Opening hours: Monday closed;
Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday from 9:00 to 13:00 & from 14:45 to 17:30;
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday from 9:00 to 13:00

Info: 0932 619333
Ticket: Castle + Parking € 8,00; Castle € 6,00; Parking € 3,00


By car: from Catania arrive to Ragusa (more here) and take the second exit for Santa Croce Camerina  (SP60), after follow indications for the castle.

By train: the only public transport that leads to the small station of Donnafugata is a regional train. The train leaves from the station of Ragusa and takes about 20 min to reach destination.

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