Sunday, July 05, 2009


The last time I visited Donnafugata the Castle was being restored and the grounds were also a mess so I was very happy to spend some time there today with Rosa and her husband.

I should explain that this is not the Donnafugata made famous by the film Il Gattopardo - that is in the Province of Agrigento. "Our" Donnafugata is here in the Province of Ragusa.

Disappointingly, perhaps, the Castle's name does not mean "The woman who fled" but is the result of a linguistic corruption: the 10th - 11th century Arabs, finding a fresh water fountain on the site, first built there and named it "Ayn As Jafat" ["Fountain of health"] and this became "Ronnafuata" in dialect and later "Donnafugata." However, there are romantics who still insist that Queen Blanche of Navarre ran away from a loveless marriage and was later imprisoned there, so you may believe whichever version you prefer.

The Castle that we see today is largely due to the work and imagination of the 19th century politician, Barone Corrado Arezzo de Spuches [1824-95] and, with its mixture of architectural and landscaping styles, is a fine example of that era's eclecticism. I think Corrado must have been rather a jolly baron!

Visitors are understandably not allowed to take photographs inside the Castle but you can see some images of the rooms here while this model gives an idea of the overall structure:

Now I'll let you enjoy some of the exterior views and some shots of the grounds [and us!]

The leaves from the fig tree above were used as postcards in the Baron's time!

Above: views of the "French garden". The scent of rosemary here is sublime.

Above: terrace views. I think Rosa should have appeared in yesterday's "finery" post, don't you? The picture immediately above was taken from the terrace.

Above: Rosa and hubby on the steps.

Immediately above: a "coffee house" in the grounds for the Baron's guests.
Below: grotto and behind it a small "temple" in the grounds.

Below: side and rear views of the Castle.

I hope you have enjoyed this first visit to Donnafugata. There will be more photos later today or tomorrow.


James Higham said...

What I wouldn't give to be named Barone Corrado Arezzo de Spuches.

Lucia said...

It was beautiful! Thank you for bringing me a piece of Sicily every week!

Maria said...

That just looks like a beautiful day! Thanks for sharing as always it's so much fun and of course educational!


CherryPie said...

That looks a fantastic place, I would love to visit it.

jams o donnell said...

It really does look amazing. I so must visit Sicily one day

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

The name would suit you, James! Thank you, Lucia. My pleasure. Many thanks, M. Love from Simi and me xx. You would love it, particularly the gardens, Cherie.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jams. You must!

Minnie said...

Glorious, Welshcakes: next best thing to actually being there ... That temple looks as if it might make a wonderful open-air theatre venue.

Whispering Walls said...

I love the coffee house - they should be selling gelati there!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you, Phidelm. What a good idea.
They should, WW.

jmb said...

Looks like a great place to visit. Too bad I missed it. Next time.

Unknown said...

Gorgeous, this is a place to visit! I hope I can make it to some further away Siclian destinations in the not too distant future! Great post.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jmb. When were you last here? It may have been "in restauro". Ciao, Lost. You'd enjoy a visit there and the little one, too. The park is lovely.


View My Stats