Un castello del XIV secolo
About 14 kms from Punta Secca, the Castello di Donnafugata is not a real castle but an 18th century palazzo belonging to the noble family of Arezzo de Spuches. It is about 2500 sq.m. and the wide neo-gothic façade is flanked on both sides by two towers.
First built by the noble Chiaramonte family, counts of Modica in the fourteenth century, a century later it is thought to have been the residence of the Count Bernardo of Cabrera, lawman of the time for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Many notions are steeped in the legend of Bernardo Cabrera and Bianca of Navarra and there is no historical trace of the existence of the two. Later, the residence was bought in 1648 by Vincenzo Arezzo-La Rocca, baron of Serri or Serre, who turned it into his country dwelling. Most of the building was built by his heir, the baron Corrado Arezzo, eclectic man of political studies. The building finally made it to the hands of Clementina Paternò Castello, widow of the Viscount Gaetano Combes de Lestrade. After years of abandonment, in 1982 it was bought by the Province of Ragusa and restored.
There is a park of 8 hectares containing 1500 plant species and various so-called ‘distractions’ meant to entertain guests, such as the circular temple, the Coffee House, some fake caves containing fake stalactites or even the stone maze. Even this castle has been a television and movie set. The billiard room was a set for the film ‘I Viceré’, while the open terraces have appeared in scenes of the Montalbano series.
Contrary to local credence, The Castello of Donnafugata mentioned in the novel Il Gattopardo is fictitious and has no bearing with the real one.