Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Villa Palagonia 3

These are pictures of the upstairs rooms and also of the garden as seen from the upstairs. Every vantage point upstairs look at some monstrosity starring at you and mocking you. Goethe visited it in 1787 and described it in his 'Italian Journey',
' Our entire day has been taken up with the madness of the Prince Pallagonia. His follies turned out to be quite different from anything I had imagined after hearing and reading about them....The following list may give you a better idea of what Prince Pallagonia has perpertrated in his madness.
Beggars of both sexes, men and women of Spain, Moors, Turks, hunchbacks, deformed persons etc. ...a horse with human hands, many dragons and snakes....
A description of the chapel alone would fill a book. .... In the house, the fever of the Prince rises to a delirium. The legs of the chairs have been unequally sawed off.....'
Obviously Goethe saw a very different villa. The rooms are empty of furniture and the paint is peeling and fading. There used to be a lot more monsters up on those walls, only a few are left. We never saw the chapel, it was locked. Mind you, we saw the villa almost 300 years after it was completed and whatever we saw still worth it.
Three days later Goethe actually saw the perpetrator of the absurdities. He was in a shop in Bagheria and was accosted by a crazy man. He asked the shopkeeper who the wierd man was, the shopkeeper said, that was the Prince himself.
I am so happy I saw Villa Pallagonia. It's a fascinating place with a fascinating history. I'm glad I made the effort to return to Sicily to visit the villa.

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