The Palace of the Marquesses of Fronteira was built in 1671 as a hunting pavilion to Dom João de Mascarenhas, 1st Marquis of Fronteira, who received his title from King Afonso VI of Portugal for his loyalty to the House of Braganza in the Portuguese Restoration War.
The house and the garden have glazed tiles representing different themes such as battles or monkeys playing trumpets. The Room of the Battles has panels representing scenes of the Portuguese Restoration War; one of them shows D. João de Mascarenhas fighting a Spanish general. The dining room is decorated with portraits representing some members of the Portuguese nobility, painted by artists such as Domingos António de Sequeira.
The chapel, dating from the end of the 16th century, is the oldest part of the palace. The façade is adorned with stones, shells, broken glass and porcelains. It seems that those pieces were used during the palace’s inauguration and were broken on purpose just not to be used again.
In spite of being the current residence of the Marquis of Fronteira some of the rooms, the library and the garden are open to public visits.
The palace garden, an area of 5,5 hectare, is adorned with Portuguese tiles with pictures that represent the different arts as well as mythological figures. The garden hedges are cut in order to represent the different year seasons. There is also a stone staircase which leads to a wall line with busts of the Kings of Portugal.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.