The Donnafugata Castle
The Castle of Donnafugata, the residence of the "Gattopoardo"Amidst the unspoiled Sicilian countryside and surrounded by little dry stone walls lies the Castle of Donnafugata, 15 km away from Ragusa. The white stone Castle appears almost suddenly on a low hill that overlooks the fields below from which carob and olive trees peep out. It has a large façade at which sides are two circular towers, a panoramic little terrace, and a beautiful arcade of pointed arches. The merlons at the top would seem to signify a defensive structure but this is not the case. The Castle of Donnafugata is a mixture of styles from different periods and tastes. It was the Baron Corrado Arezzo De Spuches that wanted the Castle as such. Visiting the Castle is like partaking in the setting atmosphere of legendary movies such as “The Leopard.” The castle has 122 rooms of which 22 are accessible to the public and display original period furniture. Walking through the rooms is really like jumping into the world of eighteenth century Sicilian aristocracy. Once you have completed your visit to the Castle you will find it pleasurable to stroll around the annexed 8-hectare wide park under the shade of large Magnolias as well as other exotic and local Sicilian species. Additionally, the park hides a few “distractions” that delighted and entertained guests in the past, such as the little circular temple, the Coffee House (offering comfort and shelter), the stone labyrinth and a few artificial “caves” provided with stalactites. During the years the Castle has been chosen as location for various cinema and TV sets. Within some of its rooms several scenes from Visconti’s “The Leopard” and “The Viceroys” have been filmed, whereas in the castle terrace some scenes from the drama series “Inspector Montalbano” have been recorded. The Castle of Donnafugata can be visited Tuesdays to Sundays.