Palermo’s Secret: Palazzo Valguarnera Gangi

In the year of grace 1735 on the 3rd of July in the Cathedral of Palermo the end of the Habsburg rule was officially sanctioned, at only eighteen, Charles III of Bourbon was crowned Rex Utriusque Siciliae (King of the Sicilies).


From this moment on, the Spanish Crown will do everything to strengthen ties with the local feudal class, developing and promoting new relations with the Sicilian aristocracy, which had the need to have “dignified” abode in the city to better exercise its own power. Palermo becomes a construction site, and among the local aristocrats a real competition begins in building sumptuous homes, making them a symbol of their prestige and their rank, as well as their immense wealth.


Many of the Palazzos that survived the neglect and bombs of 1943 are still there to make a fine show of themselves, but one in particular, located in the heart of the historic centre of Palermo, has had the privilege of crossing the centuries unscathed by wars or anything else, preserving itself both in the architectural structure and in the interiors, including the furnishings, it is the Palazzo Valguarnera Gangi.


As soon as you cross the threshold you are in front of an enfilade of halls for a total of 8000 square meters: the red hall, the blue one, the dining room, the ballroom , the hall of gilded mirrors with the Vietri ceramic floor, painted with flowers and animals including the leopards and also a beautiful terrace, overflowing with ceramics from Caltagirone, from which you can admire the facade of the church of Sant’Anna.


Inside, the rooms are full of precious objects, embroidered tapestries, glassware and porcelain, not to mention all the original furnishings with sofas, consoles, carved chairs, decorated walls, boiseries, doors painted in gold and tall mirrors.


Palazzo Gangi represents a very high moment of Italian Rococo. Over the centuries, the house has remained intact up to the current owners, the Vanni Mantegna of San Vincenzo, who took over the ownership of the palace, by inheritance, in 1995. Today, the Princess Carine Vanni Mantegna of Gangi opens its doors telling the story room by room.


How to visit


The visit lasts 2 hours but to book directly ( Tel: 0916162718) you need to be a group of 25 people. For individual visits, contact the Associazione Cultura Itiner’ARS (+39 338 72 28 775 – +39 338 45 12 011).