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Palazzo Biscari

One of the most representative examples of the Sicilian Baroque
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Palazzo Biscari, the triumph of Sicilian Baroque in Catania

Biscari palace 4Abundance, Prosperity, Fertility and Wisdom are the themes depicted in the allegorical groups of the decorations on the external façade of the Palace, its richest front facing the sea.

Made first (1707) and built in the sixteenth century walls of Charles V, it appears as the gateway to the city for those coming from the sea. Of great impact, in fact, is the vision of the balconies and pilasters in white Syracuse stone that emerge from the black background of the lava base with decorations with flowers, cherubs, fauns and telamons. Consisting of seven huge windows that enclose sculptures and decorations of extraordinary workmanship in Sicilian Baroque style, the rear facade of the marina is so rich that the entrance appears unadorned.

The façade on Via Museo Biscari has no relief with the exception of the portal, the largest in Catania in terms of size and richness, "trimmed" in the early 700s and bearing the genealogical flagpole of Prince Vincent IV. From here you enter the vast courtyard. Once full of trees, flower beds, pergolas, today unfortunately bare, it ends with an important pincer staircase that ascends to the great hall that houses numerous paintings with the fiefs of the Biscari house. From there you pass into the Green Room, full of paintings and over doors, with a beautiful terracotta floor with inlays of white Syracuse stone.

The Orchestra Hall

The next Red Room houses large portraits of the eminent characters of Casa Biscari. From this you enter the large main hall, called the Orchestra, a magnificent example of Rococo with influences of Neapolitan taste. Large overdoors cover it with views of the capital of the Kingdom, Naples, the Gulf, Vesuvius and the surroundings. The fresco on the ceiling, the Council of the Gods, celebrate the glory of the Biscari house and, of great and singular importance, the vault opens at its peak with a large balcony, which takes up the oval outline of the Hall, limited by a railing.

Palazzo Biscari frescoIn the dome, which concludes the great vault of the Hall, the musicians took their places, barely visible from those below. It is accessed via a staircase decorated with stucco (which Prince Ignatius called "a cloud bow") inside the large gallery overlooking the marina. Beyond the mirrors, the white doors and the shining Neapolitan ceramic floor, you can see the large mirrors placed above the chimneys of the niches, which, with their reflected light, in the allusive world of Rococo, symbolically evoke fire. Whose god, Vulcan, we find in the ceiling fresco.

The private apartments

Adjacent to the halls there is a small suite, the private apartments of the owners, which houses a room lined with rosewood boiserie and a “commesso” floor obtained by tastefully assembling fragments of Roman marble.

Boiseries, inlays, mirrors, frescoes, porcelain and chinoiserie can be found in the rooms of the first floor apartment, where the Bird Gallery and the Don Quixote Room stand out. In the gallery, full of mirrors and already studded with small diaphanous porcelains, a refined ceramic floor extends. The panels and doors present an exhibition of the most diverse species of birds, accompanied by fluttering scrolls that provide their name.

In the panels of the walls of Don Quixote's Room are enclosed canvases illustrating the exploits of the hidalgo,
taken from the engravings of the drawings by Charles a. Coypel, first painter of the king of France.

Architects and artists