South of RagusaSurrounded by greenery, the Donnafugata castle stands majestically, a noble residence of great beauty, also made famous by the TV series "Montalbano". In fact, several scenes were set in this wonderful place and the protagonist himself, Luca Zingaretti, chose it to marry Luisa Ranieri. The historic residence, full of beautiful rooms and halls, has a large park, within which there is an original labyrinth, which greatly intrigues visitors due to its particularity.
The original stone labyrinth
The Donnafugata labyrinth, due to its unusually trapezoidal shape, recalls that of Hampton Court park, near London. The maze is part of an eight-hectare garden, in which there are statues, a neoclassical temple, artificial caves equipped with stalactites. The English-looking labyrinth is entirely made of stone walls and contains dead ends and false paths. The builder of the park and the castle, the Baron Corrado Arezzo de Spuches, wanted to make it a place for games and jokes, in which to entertain the guests of the noble residence.
Built with dry stone walls and local white stone, it was once covered with hedges of climbing roses which made it even more difficult to identify the exit route. The labyrinth, in addition to being a fun game, also had a symbolic meaning: you entered it bringing your own defects and pain, to come out wiser and more knowledgeable. To further cheer up his guests, the Baron had a chair with a dispenser and a papier-mâché monk looking out from a chapel made nearby.
The castle, a sumptuous residence from the late 800th century
The sumptuous residence of Donnafugata was one of the social centers of the Umbertine age. Dating back to the end of the 122th century, it stands on three floors in neo-Gothic style, with two lateral towers, and consists of 22 rooms, of which XNUMX are accessible to the public. The name “Donnafugata” seems to be linked to a legend. It tells of the count Bernardo Cabrera who would have locked the queen in the castle Bianca of Navarre, left a widow, because he wanted to marry her more out of interest than out of love.
However, the latter managed to escape and from there the curious nickname would derive. Inside the castle there is also the Costume Museum (Mu.De.Co.), created by the municipal administration of Ragusa in 2014, which contains a precious collection of clothes and accessories that belonged to Gabriele Arezzo of Trifiletti. The whole place, among the most beautiful in Sicily, is absolutely worth visiting.
(Photo: Donnafugata Castle; The Donnafugata labyrinth, Facebook pages)