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Grignani Palace


Grignani Palace
City Painting XVI-XVIII
18 Carmine Square Marsala

Among the noblest houses, definable as palaces, the house of Count Grignano takes place. It is situated in piazza Carmine and it fills up an entire wing of the area, with a distinguished inside garden”. With these words, Marchese di Villabianca referred to Palazzo Grignani in his work “Storia di Marsala” at the end of the Eighteenth century.
Palazzo Grignano (or Grignani, as the spelling fluctuates during the centuries) stands in the ancient and evocative piazza Carmine, enhanced by the old monastery of Carmelite friars (with a church consecrated to Maria Annunziata with octagonal bell tower) and by the neoclassical palazzo Vaccara, now transformed into hotel. Next to palazzo Grignano stood the palace of Cappasanta family . This family was protagonist of city life until the Seventeenth century, and later, when they extinguished or moved away, the palace became property of the Grignano family, which enlarged its house toward the south, but it never unified the two façades, for this reason the front is unfinished. Probably, the family couldn't combine the buildings because of financial straits.
Palazzo Grignani is a solid building of the eighteenth century which maintains some elements of previous centuries, such as the three windows with lintels bordered by an horizontal frame typical of Manneristic style. The big portal with a rounded arch is framed by two tall pilasters of simple ashlar holding an horizontal frame. Among the balconies of the second floor, just one, which has a wavy and harmonic design, presents a threshold with a wavy outline lying on volute corbels and a wrought iron railing shaped like the chest of a goose; the modelled jambs hold up a broken pediment in which a decorated medallion is inserted. The building is enclosed by a ledge with projection held by corbels. On the side front of via Garaffa, the only relief element is a little balcony with the railing shaped like the chest of a goose, typical of eighteenth century. In the income statement of Antonio XI Grignano, a detailed description of the palace can be found; this is useful to acknowledge the original structure of the building, highly degraded by frequent damaging of the last century and by its state of neglect of the last ten years. The count “says he has got a big house, with three floors, in which he lives; starting from the ground floor, he says that in the court there are five arches hold by four columns of white marble and by nine doors”. Following, a detailed description of ground floors rooms in which there are a stable, two big warehouses with three arches which contained two hundred salme of corn, carriages room, two houses for the domestic staff, another store to contain until 80 salme of corn and a store to save he straw. A door gave access to “a garden used for entertainment time composed of two tumoli of earth with four paths covered with vines”, with fig, apple, pear, peach, pomegranate trees and many other plants. In this garden, enclosed by a stone wall, there was running water, a well (water was drawn through the senia) and a toolbox for the gardener. Stairs of white marble gave access to the first floor, in which there were bedrooms and kitchen, the latter with running water “a grilletto”. Proceeding to the second floor, there was a gallery with three arches held by three pilasters made of stones of marquetry. In this gallery, there was a door entering to the living-room, where two doors gave access to other bedrooms, the Chapel and a terrace with glass doors. The two small houses adjoining the palace, placed in the three courts of modern via Garaffa, belonged to the Count as well.
The palace, restored to the city, now hold the town art gallery of Ente Mostra di Pittura.


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