Bertini Palace

Search Hotel, B&B and Vacation Homes

Palazzo Bertini is one of the eighteen monuments in Ragusa included by UNESCO in the serial site Late Baroque Town of the Val di Noto. Built at the end of the 18th century, it was modified in the following century when the street level was lowered. The three masks that appear on its elevation are one of the most famous symbols of the city.

History of the Bertini Palace

Palazzo Bertini in Ragusa was built at the end of the 18th century on the initiative of Don Salvatore Floridia. In the second half of the following century it was bought by the Bertini family, from whom it later took its name. The height of the palace underwent several changes when, in 1847, the level of the street in front of it was lowered. Initially, the balconies of the present mezzanine were at street level and were the entrances to the rooms on the ground floor. The front door was lower, starting just below the pilasters, while the rooms on the ground floor did not exist. After a two-year restoration, Palazzo Bertini is now a Bed & Breakfast and is not open to the public.

Architecture of Bertini Palace

After the works carried out in the 19th century, today the Bertini Palace presents itself as a building on three orders. The peculiarity of the building are the three masks, the so-called “Three Mighty”, set in the keystone of the windows. The other outstanding element is the central portal with a magnificent round arch. Very original architectural motifs connect it to the balcony on the main floor, where there is a wrought iron balustrade with floral elements. Passing through the doorway, one reaches an atrium where a pitchstone staircase leads to the interior rooms, richly decorated with stucco and paintings.

The masks of the Bertini Palace and their meaning

The outstanding architectural element of the Bertini Palace are the three masks. They are made of pitchstone and represent three characters characteristic of Baroque culture. The one on the left is that of the beggar: he has a head covered with rags, a deformed face, a big nose and a toothless mouth. The head in the middle is that of the nobleman: he has a proud look, wears a feathered hat and has thick curly hair. Finally, the last figure is that of the merchant or “Man of the East”. He wears a turban, has a chubby face and a well-groomed moustache. These characters are also called the “three potentates” because they would be the personification of three different powers. The Nobleman has the power to do anything, even beyond legality, which he derives from being an aristocrat. The merchant is the symbol of the one who has everything and can do anything because of his money. Finally, the poor man has the power of the one who, having nothing, cannot be deprived of anything.

The masks and the way from Ragusa Superiore to Ragusa Ibla

According to tradition, the masks of Palazzo Bertini have an additional meaning related to the rivalry between the inhabitants of Ragusa Superiore and those of Ragusa Ibla (or Inferiore). The passer-by going from the old town to the new one is first greeted with a smile from the merchant’s face. He has turned his gaze to the left and therefore to the right of the observer. Moving forward, however, one encounters the serious face of the nobleman, the only one looking straight ahead. This almost serves as a warning that one is leaving the “noble” Ragusa for the less wealthy one. Finally, crossing the border represented by the palace, we find the figure of the poor man, again facing the observer, with his tongue hanging out. This is because, despite the warnings, the passer-by continues on his way to Upper Ragusa.

Aggiungi ai preferiti

Leave a Reply

See others sights