La Rocca Palace (Ragusa)

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Palazzo La Rocca is one of the aristocratic residences of Ragusa that fall under the Unesco serial site: Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto. Its seven sculpted balconies are one of the symbols of the city. Inside there are some original furnishings of the 18th century.

History and architecture of the La Rocca Palace in Ragusa

La Rocca Palace, like other eighteenth-century villas in Ragusa, is located near a church, in this case the Cathedral of San Giorgio. It was built in 1765 on the initiative of Don Saverio La Rocca, Baron of S. Ippolito. To build it, some old family houses were demolished, the remains of which, with their characteristic pointed arches, are still partially visible in the basement. The palace has an irregular rectangular plan, with a long Baroque façade with two pilasters in the central part and a continuous cornice at the top. The façade has seven balconies, each supported by three pitchstone corbels.

Interesting fact: the ground floor of Palazzo La Rocca houses the “Duomo” restaurant, run by two Michelin-starred chef Ciccio Sultano.

The Baroque Balconies of Palazzo La Rocca

The most outstanding architectural element of Palazzo La Rocca are undoubtedly its balconies. Walking towards the Cathedral of San Giorgio, the first balcony you encounter is also the most striking. It is the “Knights’ Balcony”, where there are depicted nobles in costume, among them a bespectacled gentleman with protruding fangs. This is followed by two balconies with a musical theme. One shows a flute player and the other a mandola player. The fourth balcony shows a woman, probably a maid, caring for a child. The fifth is the “Cupid’s Balcony”, where three pairs of cherubs are depicted in a tender embrace. The penultimate balcony is that of the Telamone, and the last is the “Balcony of the Cherubs”, where angels are depicted in tender expressions.

Inside the Palace

Inside La Rocca you can admire various original furnishings and the visit is free of charge. The entrance door leads to an atrium where an elegant double flight staircase made entirely of pitchstone leads to the main floor. The floors are made of Caltagirone ceramics and of the Neapolitan school. The walls are stuccoed and frescoed, while the doors are painted and gilded in the Pompeian style. Among the furnishings, an imposing blue and white Murano glass chandelier stands out.

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