Near the Ionian coast in the southern slopes of Sicily, there sits a 19th-century castle built by a prominent mining baron that remains, against all odds, intact. Now, the private complex, which boasts three joint buildings, 22 rooms, its own park, and commissioned artworks, is being offered for sale for €6 million ($6.9 million).
Baron Agostino Pennisi di Floristella commissioned Palermo architect Giuseppe Patricolo to design the castle, which was completed by 1800 and built on the site of a former hotel. During the ’70s, the castle was used as a set in the third film in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Godfather” trilogy.
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The 43,000-square-foot building may be a gem, but so too are other structures housed within it. Coming to sale with the estate is a gothic-inspired chapel, the walls of which are filled with art that Pennisi commissioned by Italian artists. A group of frescoes by the Sicilian painter Giuseppe Sciuti dating from 1905 will remain on the church’s walls, according to representatives for Sotheby’s International Realty, which is brokering the sale of the estate.
Alongside the commissioned works are an oil portrait and a marble bust of Pennisi, the latter of which is located at the end of a palm tree-lined promenade leading to the castle’s grounds. It was made by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Prinzi, who was active in the late 19th century.
During his lifetime, Penisi also amassed a vast collection of 1,600 gold and silver Greco-Italian coins. That collection was acquired by Sicily in the late 1980s, so it won’t head to sale with the castle. The coins now reside at the regional Paolo Orsi Museum in Syracuse, Italy.