Rating: 8,5/10 (100 votes)
Palazzo Duca di San Stefano – ancient structure in Taormina. It was built in the XIV century in the Catalan-Gothic style with the addition of Arabic elements. The palace is very much like a fortress and is divided into three floors, decorated with wonderful vaulted windows with double sashes. The lower floor is accessible through an arch, while the second – through the bridge system. Today, the palace houses the headquarters of the Mazzullo Foundation, and also serves as a repository for a large number of masterpieces of Sicilian art.
The shape of the fortress gives the palace its square shape, massiveness, its location and walls with loopholes. This suggests that it was built during the Norman domination of the island of Sicily. In a palace building in the 14th century, located near Porta Catania, lived a noble family with Spanish roots De Spuches. Members of this family – princes of Galati and dukes of Santo Stefano Di Brifa – two towns along the coast of the Ionian Sea. Opposite the northeast-facing facade of the palace is a beautiful garden. Undoubtedly, the Palazzo – one of the finest works of Gothic Sicilian art. It merged the Arabian and Norman architectural styles.
Some echoes of the Arabian time can be seen in the decoration of one of the parts of the palace - a wide frieze along the north and east facades, which are decorated with volcanic lava and diamond-shaped inlays of Syracuse white stone. The influence of the Norman era is manifested in the layout of the palace in the form of a square tower and in the forked battlements of the fortress wall.
The Palazzo building is divided into three overlapping sections. The first floor begins with an entrance in the form of a pointed arch, which is made of blocks of dark basalt and snow-white granite. Suspended walkways and moving stairs lead to the second floor through a small door visible between two vaulted windows. Inside the staircase, made of wood, was made during the restoration of the palace. On the third floor there are four wonderful windows in the Gothic style, two of which face east, and two - – to the north. All windows are skillfully made. They consist of three-lobed arches, round windows – sockets and triple cordon. In the center of the lower floor is a pink granite column. In the garden of the palace, which is located opposite the facades, there is a well with rain water, used for the needs of the inhabitants of the palace.
In the second half of the XX century, the municipality of Taormina bought for 64 million lire Palazzo Duca di San Stefano from a descendant of a noble family – Vincenzo De Spuches, who lived in Palermo. The palace currently houses the Mazzullo Foundation, run by a talented sculptor whose creations are kept inside the Palazzo.
We also recommend reading Castle of Angers in France, Loire Valley resort
Topic: Palazzo Duca di San Stefano in Italy, Sicily resort.