Grandiose Villas of Palermo

Many a grandiose villa rises in the borgate (small suburbs) encircling Palermo. The majestic summer residences desired by the Palermo aristocracy for their location closer to the seaside than that of their imposing in-town palazzi are noble residences for most of the year.

In Cardillo, a borgata (small suburb) a few kilometers from Palermo, many an elegant 18th-century Baroque villa is tucked away behind imposing wrought iron gates in the midst of modern nondescript apartment buildings. 

The Villa Alliata Cardillo is now a cultural center. Not far away is the elegant 18th-century Villa Bonocore Maletto, now an elegant hotel with a spa and vast frescoed meeting halls. The late 18th-century Villa de Cordova, still property of the noble DeCordova family, is now rented out for weddings, other ceremonies and meetings.

A few steps away on the other side of the road leading out of Cardillo, is the entranceway to Villa Boscogrande. Built by the Duke of Montalbano at the end of the 18th-century it was chosen by noted Italian film director Luchino Visconti to be the setting for his film “Il Gattopardo”. The film starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon, is based on the novel by nobleman Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, published in 1958, the year following the author’s death. His work recounts and analyzes the upheaval and transformation in Sicilian society during the Risorgimento the end of the 19th century and the proclamation of the new Kingdom of Italy.

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