Palazzo Bonelli Patanè

Top choice in Southeastern Sicily

Never judge a book by its cover, or a palazzo by its facade. Take the 19th-century Palazzo Bonelli Patanè, its demure neoclassical facade tight-lipped about the Liberty-era decadence beyond. A swoon-inducing feast of silk wallpaper, stuccowork and precious antique furniture, the palace flaunts the luxury enjoyed by Scicli's upper class in the early 20th century. Among the highlights are dashing frescoes by Sicilian artist and decorator Raffaele Scalia, who spent part of his career working in New York.

Note also the nifty buzzer beneath the dining table, handy for calling the servants. From early November to mid-March, the palazzo is open by prior arrangement, and only for groups of 10 or more people.

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