Palermo's Casina cinese restored to its former glory

The completion of the restoration of the Casina cinese building in Palermo's Parco della Favorita represents the final step in an important project for tourism and culture in the city. The restoration work has been ongoing since the 1990s and has allowed the monument to be re-opened to the public following two decades of closure for safety reasons due to the deterioration of the condition of the Casina.

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Italian-style gardens at the Casina cinese © Presidenza Regione Siciliana Italian-style gardens at the Casina cinese © Presidenza Regione Siciliana

Renovated inside and out

The task was complex and delicate given the size of the Casina cinese and a range of work was carried out during the last phase. This included restoration of flooring, plaster, stone work, interior decoration such as wall paintings and sculptures, railings and other metal elements, surfaces, fixtures and fittings including chandeliers, wooden elements and textiles.

The plant life at the Casina was also revitalised. This was particularly important given the presence of the Italian-style garden at the site, as well as its proximity to the Parco della Favorita, Palermo's largest green space. The project has thus enabled the historical monument to fit in perfectly with the natural and environmental heritage of the surrounding area.

An original and eclectic monument

The Casina cinese was commissioned by Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies while in exile in Sicily and built from 1799 onwards by Giuseppe Venanzio Marvuglia. One of the most original and eclectic monuments in Palermo, the building reflects the fashion for eastern culture which prevailed throughout Europe at that time.

The Casina has arched porticoes at ground level and is flanked by towers with spiral staircases. On the ground floor are the ballroom and audience room, while the first floor has a Chinese-style reception room, dining room and royal bedroom. The second floor is taken up by the former queen's apartments and at roof level there is a terrace and octagonal pagoda.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Casina cinese” is EUR 3 002 497, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 138 419 from the Operational Programme “Sicily” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date

02/02/2016