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Palace of the Marquis SantIsidoro Del Castillo
The Palace of the Marquis Sant’Isidoro-del Castillo is located between via Sant’Isidoro and via del Celso in the so-called “Guilla” district, right near what was the bank on the Papireto river and where the Arabs had built a city gate: thePorta SantAgata. The term Guilla comes from the Arabic word “wadi” which means: creek river. Nearby, outside the aforesaid gate, there then passed the Papireto river, which easily widened, overflowed and created various bends and ravines, caves that soon became a haven for criminals. These people of ill repute, needed an unknown, secret language, and so there appeared the language of “Cuncuma”, that is a very particular jargon that of baccagghiu. Several legends were engendered in this place. Indeed, it is said that in the garden owned by the Marquis Sant’Isidoro, reachable by a still existing overpass, there was buried a “Turk” , who still appears to appear. This was the King of Tunis, who was historically exiled to Palermo, and so after various events, this king was buried right here. Historical information on the palace is scarce. The Mannerist architectural construction was built at the end of the 16th century by the Marquis Diego del Castillo. In the eighteenth century, the palace underwent a major transformation, especially in the interior, and passed to the De Cordoba family after the death of the last Marquise: Maria del Castillo di Sant’Isidoro. The palace has recently been restored and is used as a private residence. Outside on Via Sant’Agata alla Guilla, the monumental late sixteenth-century portal with rough ashlars in the Mannerist style stands out.
In the entrance hall, the coat of arms on the ceiling of the “Del Castillo” house and the majolica floors are noteworthy. The ballroom was decorated with frescoes representing mythological scenes by the great painter Cav. Gaspare Serenario.
Some Allied bombs in 1943 partially destroyed this palace and the adjacent garden; destroying both the architectural and the cultural parts as the building had a library full of hundreds of volumes whose pages were bound in parchment.
During the last restorations some painted panelled ceilings, particularly coats of arms of the noble families who owning the building, and architectural elements related to its first construction were discovered.
Address:Piazza Sant’Agata alla Guilla