sicily | baroque balconies

eastern sicily is renowned for baroque architecture.  especially, baroque balconies.

many of the medieval cities in eastern sicily, including catania, siracusa and ortigia, noto, modica, and ragusa, were relocated or rebuilt following a devastating earthquake in 1693.

map of sicily

areas affected by the earthquake of 1693

photo credit wikipedia
palazzo biscari, considered the finest private building in catania, was built following the earthquake, between 1702 and 1763, by the paternò castello family, who still own the baroque palace.

entry courtyard

palazzo biscari | via museo biscari, 10 | catania, sicily

photo credit tripadvisor

palazzo biscari is renowned not only for the baroque balcony on the western wing that has seven sculpted windows…

 baroque balcony with seven windows | sculpted by antonino amato | early 18C | palazzo biscari | catania, sicily

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

…but also, for the rococo ballroom in the eastern wing that has painted and parcel gilt wall panels and a fresco ceiling depicting the banquet of the gods, the glory of the family biscari.

the palazzo biscari ballroom is often described as the finest rococo room in italy.

 rococo ballroom | fresco ceiling painted by matteo desiderato | 1780-82 | palazzo biscari | catania, sicily

photo credit media-cache

our private tour of palazzo biscari, guided by a member of the paternò castello family, was one of the highlights of our trip to sicily.  our guide was a most enthusiastic historian, who appreciated an interested audience.  in the portrait gallery, he even posed in front of a portrait of one of the princes of biscari so that we could see how much he looks like his ancestor.  especially, in profile!

the palazzo nicolaci di villadorata in noto was built during the same time period as the palazzo biscari, between 1701 and 1765.  the palazzo nicolaci is most famous for its six baroque balconies with anthropomorphic corbels.  the palazzo nicolaci balconies are considered iconic examples of sicilian baroque architecture.  and, symbols of the eight late baroque towns of the val di noto (noto valley), which are included on the UNESCO world heritage list.

via corrado nicolaci | noto, sicily

left:  palazzo nicolaci di villadorata

center:  chiesa di montevergine

right:  palazzo modica di san giovanni

 

 balcony of the adolescents | villa nicolaci di villadorata | noto, sicily

balcony of the lions | villa nicolaci di villadorata | noto, sicily

 view of noto from the balcony of the lions | villa nicolaci di villadorata | noto, sicily

 

balcony of the mermaids | villa nicolaci di villadorata | noto, sicily

 balcony of the turks | villa nicolaci di villadorata | noto, sicily

balcony of the winged horses | villa nicolaci di villadorata | noto, sicily

 balcony of the adolescents | villa nicolaci di villadorata | noto, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace
typically, sicilian baroque balconies have carved corbels and ‘goose breast’ wrought iron railings, which were supposedly designed to accommodate the full skirts of 18th century women’s dresses.

diagram | sicilian baroque balcony

photo credit michelin green guide | sicily | p. 86

palazzo cosentini | corso giuseppe mazzini | ragusa ibla, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 palazzo la rocca | via capitano bocchieri, 31-33 | ragusa ibla, sicily

now ristorante duomo and one of the ragusa ibla tourist offices

photo credits cdn.c.photoshelter and hermes-sicily

 palazzo tommasi rosso-tedeschi | corso umberto I | modica bassa, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

some palazzos are in better condition than others.

 

villa mazza di villallegra | via vittorio emanuele II | catania, sicily

photo credits panoramio.com  and lisa walsh | innerspace

 

 corso san giorgio, 87 | modica alta, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

corso san giorgio, 73 | modica alta, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

corso san giorgio, 23 | modica alta, sicily

did you notice the corbel in the lower right corner?

 photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

corso san giorgio, 89 | modica alta, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

palazzo napolino-tommasi rosso | corso francesco crispi | modica alta, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

palazzo rubino-trombadore | corso umberto I | modica bassa, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

many sicilian baroque balconies have figural brackets.  but, many more have volute or scroll shaped corbels.

 palazzo nicastro | corso giuseppe mazzini | ragusa ibla, sicily

photo credits panoramio, lisa walsh | innerspace and panoramio

palazzo sortina trono | piazza degli archi | ragusa ibla, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace



palazzo impellizzeri-vianisi | via della maestranza, 17 | ortigia, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

via camillo benso conte di cavour, 48 | noto, sicily

flat for sale (vende)

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace


palazzo danieli-rizza | via della maestranza, 110 | ortigia, sicily

photo credits antoniorandazzo and lisa walsh | innerspace

palazzo rau della ferla | via silvio spaventa | noto, sicily

photo credits appartamentofragola.altervista and lisa walsh | innerspace

palazzo cilestri | via etnea, 116 | catania, sicily

now a coin department store

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

travel tips:

where to find baroque balconies in eastern sicily.

and, some other scenic places to visit.

catania

via crociferi


villa bellini botanical park | catania, sicily

photo credit turismo in sicilia

ortigia

via della maestranza

via vittorio veneto (aka via mastrarua)

bridge from siracusa to ortigia | ortigia, sicily

photo credit turismoambientalesicilia

noto

via corrado nicolaci

via camillo benso conte di cavour

corso vittorio emanuele

via silvio spaventa

view of noto from the balcony of accolades | villa nicolaci di villadorata | noto, sicily

left:  palacio ducenzio, now the noto town hall

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

ragusa ibla

corso giuseppe mazzini

via capitano bocchieri

piazza degli archi

view of ragusa ibla | ragusa, sicily

blue roof:  chiesa santa maria dell’itria

photo credit luisa iengo

modica

corso umberto I

corso francesco crispi

corso san giorgio

300 steps from modica bassa to modica alta

from corso umberto I to the duomo di san giorgio  | modica, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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