Clustered with Baroque villas, Bagheria is a historic city on Sicily’s north coast that was made famous by the 1990 film “The Godfather Part III”. It was established by the Phoenicians when it was known as Baaria and became a getaway destination for Palermo’s elite in the 17th century.
Things to do in Bagheria
In the heart of Bagheria is Villa Palagonia, an 18th-century residence that is considered one of the earliest examples of Sicilian Baroque architecture. It is magnificently decorated with human-faced “grotesque” beings that have seen it nicknamed “The Villa of Monsters”. Marvel at the mirrored ceiling of the Marble Room and explore the surrounding gardens or coincide your visit with a live music performance.
Around 2,000 toys dating from the 2nd century BC are exhibited at the Pietro Piraino Toy Museum, which occupies a floor of Villa Aragona Cuto. Get up close to rare mechanical French toys and traditional Sicilian puppets, as well as terracotta toys discovered in an ancient tomb. Also on display are around 200 wax sculptures crafted by local artists in the 18th and 19th centuries.
North of Bagheria is Villa Cattolica, which was built in a Baroque style by Francesco Bonanno in 1736. Once used as a barracks and later as a hospital, it is home to the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. In addition to a large collection of paintings, sculptures and prints by Renato Guttuso, the museum houses temporary exhibitions by notable Sicilian artists.
Getting around Bagheria
Bagheria is around 30 minutes’ drive from Palermo and 45 minutes from Palermo Airport, which has seasonal flights to destinations across Europe. Regular trains connect to the Bagheria railway station and buses travel throughout the town, accessing most of its attractions.