It was 1798 when King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon with his wife Maria Carolina had to abandon Naples due to the riots and the French occupation and had to move to Palermo. Here, the king wanted to create an environment of elegance and refinement and for this reason he commissioned the architect Giuseppe Venanzio Marvuglia to build an important residence, famous for the original style that was part of the canons of the eclecticism of the turn of the century. The house, known as Palazzina or Casina Cinese, for the Chinese style that distinguishes it, stands inside the Parco della Favorita, then Real Tenuta della Favorita, where the sovereign delighted in hunting. It is said that some aristocratic families donated part of their country possessions to the king; another version says that the land had actually been confiscated. However things went, the result was a very original home in a vast park. The building is characterized by decorations ranging from oriental to neoclassical taste, passing through arabesque and neo-Pompeian elements. Famous is the dining room with the ingenious mathematical table which, through a complex system of ropes and an underground passage that connected to the nearby kitchens, allowed the food to arrive directly on the table, without the indiscreet eyes or ears of the servants being present with meals.
To visit the Chinese building, the times are as follows:
Tuesday / Saturday 09.00-19.00 – Sunday and holidays 9.00-13.30.
Remember that the site is closed on Mondays. For info tel. 091 707140.
To visit is the adjacent Giuseppe Pitrè Ethnographic Museum (currently under restoration) housed in the premises of the Palazzo’s annexes.
The museum, founded by the illustrious ethnologist Giuseppe Pitrè, offers us a very large collection of material that documents traditional Sicilian history.
For any info contact me