Zacco Palace (Ragusa)

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Palazzo Zacco is one of the noble residences of Ragusa, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Built in the second half of the 18th century, it has typical late Baroque balconies decorated with grotesque corbels and anthropomorphic figures. Inside it houses the Museum of the Peasant Era and the “Carmelo Cappello Civic Collection”.

History and architecture of the Zacco Palace

The construction of Palazzo Zacco in Ragusa dates back to the second half of the 18th century. Originally built as a country house for the barons of Melfi di Sant’Antonio, the palace was purchased by the Zacco family in the following century. The building has a quadrangular plan and is located at the intersection of Via San Vito and Corso Vittorio Veneto. On the upper corner of the building you can see the large coat of arms of the Melfi family, framed by acanthus leaves on which a cherub is resting. The entrance portal is very elegant and supports the central balcony with two columns crowned with Corinthian capitals. The rooms have pitchstone floors, barrel and ribbed vaults and stucco.

The balconies of Zacco Palace

The most interesting architectural elements of Palazzo Zacco are undoubtedly its balconies. As in other noble palaces of Ragusa, such as Palazzo Bertini, Palazzo Cosentini or Palazzo La Rocca, there are grotesque decorations and masks. On the main floor there are three balconies, all with goose-nest grilles. The two side balconies have large corbels with depictions of musicians above grotesque faces and anthropomorphic representations. Particularly original is the central corbel of the right balcony, with the musician playing maracas and the masquerade below addressing passersby with a burlesque grimace. There are also three balconies on the side façade, of which the central one stands out. The five consoles on which it rests represent a mermaid and flute and trumpet players. On the pediment there is a statue of St. Michael the Archangel.

The Museum of Peasant Time

Inside Palazzo Zacco is the Museum of Peasant Time. There are exhibits of various tools and utensils of ancient peasant traditions, used for plowing and sowing, making bread, cottage cheese and cheese. You can also see the work entrusted to the skilled hands of the women who made precious threads and laces to embellish and decorate the country houses. Inside the building there is also the “Civic Collection of Carmelo Cappello”, made up of 15 sculptures and 20 graphic works by the artist from Ragusa.

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