Chinese  Palace

Situated in the middle of the large Favorita park, the “Chinese Palace” was built for King Ferdinand III of Bourbon by Venanzio Marvuglia in 1799. It is characterized by a peculiar combination of different style, including a neoclassical structure enriched with Chinese motifs as well as Gothic elements. During Ferdinand IV’s forced stay in Palermo, it became the favourite residence of the king and of his wife Maria Carolina; it also housed Admiral Nelson and Lady Hamilton. The vaulted ceiling were decorated with frescoes by G. Patania and V. Riolo. In the basement are the dance-hall and the royal audience hall in Louis XVI style. Upstairs are the hall representation and the dining-room, whose table is equipped with peculiar device to serve the courses and change the dishes without the servants’ help. To the left of the building is the “royal chapel”, built in neoclassical style with an octagonal plan and a dome supported by eight Ionic marble columns; above the altar is a large painting of the “Madonna della Lettera”. Of great interest is a visit to the “Pitrè Ethnographic Museum” (Museo Etnografico Siciliano Pitrè), one of the most important in Europe, founded by the Palermitan ethnologist Giuseppe Pitrè in 1909. Its rich collection documents Sicilian life, usages and customs.