Place of indescribable atmosphere, it’s the “Enchanted Castle”, a museum-garden where there are thousands of sculptures realized by Filippo Bentivegna, a real artist endowed by an excellent creativity, one of the greatest exponents of “art brut” or “outside art”, unique of its kind. In the western side of Sicily, at the slopes of Mount Kronio, not far from Sciacca, there is the “Enchanted Castle”, that is a wonderful place invented by the creativity of man and nature where, besides olives and almond trees, you can find heads engraved in stone by Filippo Bentivegna, called “Philip of the heads”, a real artist endowed by an excellent creativity, one of the greatest exponents of “art brut” or “outside art”.
Visit: Il Castello Incantato, Sciacca, Province of Agrigento, SicilyFilippo Bentivegna’s life was unusual and eccentric. He was born in Sciacca on 3 ͬ ͩMay 1888 in a big family with economic difficulties. So, when Filippo was a child, he had to work hard and he couldn’t go to school. At the age of twenty, in 1908, he enlisted in the Navy and he stayed work so he ventured to America. But there, life was too hard racist ideas. So he was immediately marginalized because of his non-conformist ideas. During this period, Filippo fell in love whit an american girl and because of this relationship he was violently beaten up by his love rival. He was very shocked by this episode and his nature deeply changed. Obliged to repatriate, he settled in Sciacca and, with the money he had earned in America, he bought a little estate where he spent the rest of his life painting and chiseling trees and stones. His sculptures are various and they represent known and unknow subjects of the reign where he was the “King”. In fact, Filippo loved to be called by people “His Excellency”. In the middle of the estate there is Bentivegna’s house, whose wall are decorated with sketches reminding his american experience, in particular, you can admire a big fish containing a smaller fish in his belly which perhaps represents the ship that lead him to New York. Filippo was very fond of one of his work he called “The Enchantment Key”. People say he used to wander around city street with a short stick in his hand that he held like a scepter proclaiming himself “Lord of the Caves”. Due to a slow decline of his health, he was forced to move to another house in the center of Sciacca. But he kept on taking care of this estate till death. He died in 1967, at the age of 78 years old. A group of 14 sculptures of Filippo Bentivegna are exhibited in the “Art Brut Museum” of Lausanne.