Last week we told you about some of the precious little museums in Palermo, small jewels originating from public or private collections that contribute to the immense cultural heritage of the city. Today, we’ll bring you around the capital: in small and large towns, authentic treasures are kept, some of which are completely unexpected for the visitor.
On a narrow street in the old center of Cefalù, a beautiful palace is home to this interdisciplinary museum, based on the collections of a local noble intellectual, Baron Enrico Pirajno of Mandralisca. In the nineteenth century, the baron put together a picture gallery, whose most important piece is the Portrait of Unknown Man by Antonello da Messina (which, according to what has been handed over, was used as a door of a pharmacy locker in Lipari), an archaeological collection and a numismatics as well as a collection of shells among the richest in Europe. All things that, together with furniture and objects of the family, can now be seen in the small, precious museum.
Via Mandralisca 13, tel. 0921 421547, visits every day 9 – 19
Civic Museum of Castelbuono
This museum is housed inside the14th-century castle of Ventimiglia and is the place where the historical and artistic memory of this charming Madonie village is preserved. The sections are four: archaeological, urban, sacred art and the gallery of modern and contemporary art. The museum is an active cultural promotion center with a dense program of exhibitions and activities. The castle, which is the most important building in Castelbuono, despite the inevitable tampering during its long history, is still impressive and basically intact, and stands to dominate the town. Inside you can also visit the Palatine Chapel, decorated with seventeenth-century stuccos, which houses a sacred relic of the patron saint Anna.
Piazza Castello, tel. 0921 671211, visits from Monday to Friday 9.30 – 13 and 16 – 19.30, Saturday and Sunday 10 – 13.30 and 16 – 19.30
Museo delle Trame Mediterranee
Just outside New Gibellina, the museum wants to collect the memories of the 1968 Belice earthquake, but also to demonstrate, through art, that there has always been the same civilization and culture in the Mediterranean. A section collects ceramics, woven fabrics, jewelry from various Mediterranean areas and different epochs, while another section, in the large barn, houses contemporary artwork by the various artists who, over time, has visited Gibellina. In the seventies and eighties, many internationally renowned artists were involved by mayor Ludovico Corrao in the rebuilding after the earthquake. That is why today the small town is an en plein air museum and can boast an invaluable collection of contemporary art.
Baglio Di Stefano, tel. 0924 67844, visits from Tuesday to Sunday 9 – 13 and 15 – 18
Museo del Giocatto (toy museum)
It’s not just for kids, this beautiful Bagheria museum. In fact, the collection ranges from past to present, including precious nineteenth-century automatons (the richest collection in Italy), English room boxes, dolls of all sorts of materials, assembly boxes, models and much more. A section is dedicated to the art of wax sculptures, with a delicious and precious collection of wax cribs and figurines of Baby Jesus and Mary as a girl, dating from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. The museum’s seat is a beautiful eighteenth century villa and regularly organizes didactic activities.
Via Dietro la Certosa, tel. 3356651025, visits from Tuesday to Sunday 9 – 13