The Villa Lampedusa is a splendid example of a suburban residence, founded by Don Isidoro Terrasi in the early 18th century. The current appearance is thanks to the Classicist renovation done by the Alliata princes of Villafranca at the end of the 1700s. The villa is known for its stylistic and architectural characteristics, such as the rich mannerism of the “Louis XVI” style decorations, the structure of the double staircase in the fashion of the late 18th century, the frescoes on the main floor, the stuccoes, and the painted ceilings.
In 1845 the villa was acquired by Giulio Tomasi IV, Prince of Lampedusa, with compensation from the Bourbon government for the annexation of the island of Lampedusa. The prince added an astronomical observatory to the property. The interior decoration is a masterpiece of perspective and illusion: tromp l’oeil in shades of gray, frescoes, walls and moldings in an elegant rococo style, enriched with Neoclassical stuccoes.
Over the last century the villa passed to the Dragotto and Pitruzzella families, who guided a return to a rustic atmosphere around the guesthouse and the stable, and following an ideal of holistic restoration for the important landmark. The Villa Lampedusa is the real “Villa Gattopardo”, in which Prince Giulio Fabrizio Maria Tomasi of Lampedusa, 9th Duke of Palma and inspiration for the main character in his great-grandson Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s famous novel “The Leopard”, spent much of his life. In the novel the villa is called “Villa Salina.”