Just to get a glimpse into how the Sicilian aristocracy lived out their lives in times past, I paid a visit to the Palazzo Mirto – once an historic palace, now a home-museum .
The building is located in the historic center of Palermo, Kalsa - an ancient fortified Arab citadel. For four centuries the Palace was the Palermo home of the Lanza Filangieri Princes of Mirto, from which it is named the palace.
The Filanger family had palaces, castles and villas all over Sicily, and for a time, the family owned almost a third of the entire island. They are still remembered today as the most important Norman family in Sicily and in southern Italy - all of whom are descendants of a common farmer, the legendary knight Angerio, one of the Dukes of Normandy, who Came to Italy following the first Crusades in the late 11th Century.
The Sicilian branch comes from Abbo Filangeri, who arrived in Palermo in the 13th century. The first of the house to be invested in the title of Prince of Mirto was Giuseppe Filangeri and De Spuches in 1642.
In 1830 Vittoria Filangeri - the last of the line - married Ignazio Lanza Branciforte, count of Raccuja. Their descendants lived uninterruptedly until 1982, when the last heir of the family, Donna Maria Concetta Lanza Filangieri of Mirto, donated the palace to the Sicilian Region to form a museum for the will of his brother Stefano Lanza Filangeri
The oldest structures of the building dates back to the 13th century but, after the constructive phases of the end of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries , the building underwent a radical transformation, and further remodeling continued throughout the course of the nineteenth century to the middle of the 20th century.
The interior is beautifully furnished. A perfect example of the residences of the Palermo Aristocracy, the palace houses furniture from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth century . There are numerous Murano chandeliers, Chinese lacquered panels, clocks, porcelain, and tapestries.
the tiny but extravagant Salottino Cinese (Chinese Salon)
full of black lacquer and painted silken wallpaper
Silvia Paterno Sperlinga and Manganelli
wife of Giuseppe Antonio Lanza Filangeri, Prince of Mirto.
19th Century – by an unknown sculptor
The walls of the Palace’s 21 rooms are covered in acres of silk and velvet wallpaper, with vast embroidered wall hangings, frescoed ceilings, gaudy chandeliers and floors paved in coloured marbles, maiolica tiles and mosaics.
The “throne” reception hall is particularly beautiful
and boasts not one, but two baby grand pianos …
Detail of woven silk wall hanging ...
Main dining room on the first floor ...
Family dining room on second floor
… and finally down to the stables …
Very grand indeed and I'll let the horse have the final say …