Palermo’s Secret: Palazzo Valguarnera Gangi

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


From that moment onwards, the Spanish Crown did everything in its power to strengthen ties with the local feudal class, developing and promoting new relations with the Sicilian aristocracy, which needed a “dignified” abode in the city to better exercise their own power. Palermo became a construction site and a real competition began among local aristocrats to build sumptuous homes, making them symbols of their prestige, rank and immense wealth.


Many of the palazzos that survived the neglect and bombs of 1943 still remain, but one in particular, located in the heart of the historic center of Palermo, has had the privilege of crossing the centuries unscathed by wars or anything else, preserving itself both in its architectural structure and interiors, including the furnishings. It is the Palazzo Valguarnera Gangi.


As soon as one crosses the threshold, they are in front of an enfilade of halls covering a total of 8,000 square meters: the red hall, the blue hall, the dining room, the ballroom, the hall of gilded mirrors with the Vietri ceramic floor painted with flowers and animals, including leopards, and a beautiful terrace overflowing with ceramics from Caltagirone, from which one 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 high point 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 ownership of the palace by inheritance in 1995. Today, 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).