Reverie in the heart of Sicily
With its lava-hued palaces and their Baroque façades, Catania will surprise you with its well-preserved charm. The historic centre is just perfect for strolling around. With senses on alert, wander around the working-class neighbourhood of Civita, close to the port and the famous arches of the marina, which trains rumble over several times a day. After a bend in the alley, the focus of all that praise and the backdrop for famous British rock band Coldplay's video for the track “Violet Hill”, comes into view: the Palazzo Biscari. A magnificent example of Sicilian Baroque, this is one of the largest palaces in the region, flaunting its richly carved windows not far from the elegant Piazza Duomo.
A stroll through the Palazzo Biscari's 700 rooms
If you book a guided tour with owner, Ruggero Moncada, prepare to let your emotions get the better of you as you step inside this extravagant residence. Your guide knows everything there is to know about the history of the building and its construction following the earthquake of 1693. Its illustrious guests include Goethe who enthused about the palace's beauty when he stayed in Catania in the 1700s. In his Italian Journey, the famous German author and art theorist described the exuberant stucco work and frescoes. Reading his writings today, you will be mesmerised by the extravagance of the palace's interior decoration.
The residence was designed to leave its visitors in awe. Of the 700 rooms in the palace, the ballroom with its Rococo style cannot fail to dazzle you. The gilt work and mirrors hold you transfixed. The tour ends as beautifully as it started with a visit to the Princess Apartments, created at the request of the Prince of Biscari, Ignazio the Great, for his beloved wife. There, floors with their inlaid wood and marble from the Roman era compete with ostentatious refinement. This is the extravagant side of Sicily at its best, a side that fascinates artists as much today as it did in the past.
Via Museo Biscari, 10,
95131 Catania CT
+39 095 715 2508