Astuto di Fargione Palace (Noto)

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Palazzo Astuto di Fargione is one of the old noble palaces of Noto that can be visited in via Cavour. Probably designed by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra, it once housed a rich and prestigious museum. Since 1980 the main floor of the palace has been the seat of the Circolo Val di Noto.

The history of the Astuto Palace in Noto

Palazzo Astuto in Noto was built at the behest of Filippo Astuto di Fargione, a baron from the town of Licodia Eubea, near Catania. At the end of the 18th century, Baron Antonino Astuto, a great lover of art and archaeology, founded the Astuziano Museum together with his wife Dorotea Catalano. The collection was exhibited in the east wing of the palace and included high quality authentic pieces as well as objects of dubious origin and some Renaissance forgeries. When the last of the Astutians died, the entire estate was sold by the heirs to other museums. Many of these artifacts are now in the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Prado in Madrid, and the Museo Salinas in Palermo. Since 1980, the main floor of Palazzo Astuto has been the headquarters of the Circolo Val di Noto, an association dedicated to the promotion of the cultural heritage of this area of Sicily.

Architecture and interior of Palazzo Astuto

Palazzo Astuto in Fargione di Noto was probably designed by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra. The façade is very elegant, with six columns with Tuscan capitals that support the elegant pediment of the palace. The first two floors of the palace are overlooked by balconies decorated with rounded grilles. They are all surmounted by pediments that are semicircular on the second floor and triangular on the upper floor. Inside, there are numerous rooms decorated with exquisite 18th-century stucco, including the sumptuous “Ballroom”, and a large courtyard overlooking the warehouses and stables. The palace is open to the public for special events and demonstrations.

The anti-aircraft bunker of the Second World War

In the courtyard of Palazzo Astuto there is an entrance to a Second World War anti-aircraft bunker. It is an earthen corridor of more than 500 meters that connects the palace to Via Mariannina Coffa in the upper part of the city. After being used for many years as a warehouse by the Municipality of Noto, the bunker has been restored and will be open to the public in 2021. The space will be managed by the Fondazione Teatro Tina Di Lorenzo in collaboration with the Cooperative Il Cuore di Argante.

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