Palazzo Duchi di Santo Stefano

Taormina, Italy

Built between the late 1200s and the early 1300s, the Palazzo Duchi di Santo Stefano (Palace of the Dukes of Santo Stefano) was part of the medieval walls of Taormina. It is a masterpiece of Sicilian Romaneque and Gotic style, fitted with Arabic-Norman elements.

The building has a beautiful garden in front of its main facades, where there is still a well for the collection of rain-water which was the water supply for the whole palace.

The Palazzo dei Duchi di Santo Stefano is made up of three square overlapping sections. The entrance to the ground floor is an ogival arch constructed with squared bricks of black basalt (lavic stone) and white granite (Taormina stone). On the second floor there are four beautiful windows , two facing east and two facing north. The four mullioned windows have an elaborate structure with rosettes and small trilobe arches as well as triple cordons framing the ogival arches. On the top part of the palace a wide frieze runs along the east and north facades formed by a wavy decoration in lavic stone alternated with rhombus-shaped inlays in white Siracusa stone, together forming a magnificent lace of marquetry.

The palace was the residence of the spanish noble family De Spuches, dukes of Santo Stefano and Princes of Galati.

During the second world war it was damaged in large parts, yet it was completly restored in the 1960s after that the Municipality of Taormina bought it from Vincenzo De Spuches, a young descendant of the De Spuches family.

The Palace today houses the Fondazione G. Mazzullo. Many of the sculptures of Giuseppe Mazzullo are on show in the Palace.

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Founded: 13th century
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy

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