Museo Mandralisca

Lonely Planet review

This small, privately owned museum showcases a collection amassed by parliamentarian, archaeologist and natural-history buff, Baron Mandralisca (1809–64). The rather faded displays of Greek ceramics and Arab pottery are of marginal interest compared to Antonello da Messina's splendid Ritratto di un uomo ignoto (Portrait of an Unknown Man; 1465), considered one of the most distinctive portraits of the Italian Renaissance.

Acquired by the Baron after he discovered it being used as a makeshift cupboard door in Lipari, da Messina's painting depicts a man with an enigmatic smirk, almost as captivating and thought provoking as the Mona Lisa's – albeit without the attendant hype.