When one wants to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to relax in the sun and to sail away on a white yacht lost somewhere in the crystal waters of the Mediterranean, booking a ticket to Palermo might just be the perfect solution. You can return year after year to the Sicilian capital, and it will still find a way to surprise you. A hidden gem, for example, is the Villa Tasca, one of the largest and most luxurious villas in Palermo, and family homestead of the Marquise Anna Lanza. The Tasca family, an old aristocratic dynasty, has opened the doors of their villa to the likes of guests such as Jacqueline Kennedy, King Ferdinand IV, Queen Marguerita of Savoy, Otto Bismark, Richard Wagner, and Giuseppe Verdi.
Villa Tasca is truly an oasis in the heart of Palermo. No matter how gorgeous the pictures may seem, seeing this estate in person always exceeds expectations. No photo can portray what it is like to spend a day in this fabulous villa.
A luxurious 15th century manor house, the villa covers an area of eight acres, located amidst a garden of exotic palms, acacia, and almond trees. The area was once a hunting grounds, and was then converted into a private residence that offers a truly exclusive atmosphere of aristocratic leisure. The garden that surrounds the villa was created in the typical romantic style of the 18th century: with narrow paths, secluded pavilions, and even an idyllic lake complete with swans. Not to mention that two of the swans swimming in the lake are named Tristan and Isolde, in homage of famed guest Richard Wagner and his celebrated opera.
What better way to start the day than by taking breakfast on the villa’s sunny terrace, sipping fresh orange juice and eating warm croissants amidst a gorgeous collection of colorful Maiolica 17th century ceramics, all while overlooking the stunning gardens and pool.
A stroll through the magnificent palace quickly reveals that everything has remained unchanged since the 18th century: Ancient statues and paintings with their heavy bronze frames, captivating friezes on the ceilings, and Baroque murals that line the walls of the living room. In the corner, a piano that belonged to Wagner commemorates this location where the composer was said to have drawn inspiration. It was here, in 1881, that the composer created the third act of his masterpiece “Parsifal”.
Continue to explore the estate and you will come across the huge library that contains historic books on art, history, and etiquette. The library is adjacent to the Verde Suite, one of the four opulent rooms designed for guests of the villa. In the guest quarters one will even find a billiard room with an English bar and terrace overlooking the lush garden.
For over two hundred years, the Tasca family has expertly tended to the land’s rolling green vineyards, managing their wine cellars with love and dedication. Count Giuseppe Tasca, known as “the father of Sicilian fine wines”, created the world famous wine “Tasca d’Almerita.” In fact, Villa Tasca was initially one of the oldest wine cellars in the region. Love of fine wine and food is clearly a family affair, as the Marquise Anna Tasca Lanza is founder of one of the most renowned culinary schools in Italy. It’s no surprise that in she can expertly whip up an exquisite feast of traditional Sicilian dishes, beautifully accompanied, of course, by a glass of “Rosso del Conte” and of “Nozze d’Oro”, flagship wines of the Tasca winery.
With Conte Giuseppe Tasca and Princess Aloisa Moncada di Paterno
If one wishes to leave this enchanting location to explore the surrounding city of Palermo, they will be happy to discover that the villa is located near some of the most breathtaking locations that the city has to offer. The beach of Mondello, considered one of the most beautiful in Palermo, is located in the emerald bay between the mountains of Monte Gallo and Monte Pelligrino. From here, you can go by boat or even swim to the open sea and explore the untouched beauty of the Aeolian Islands. Head to the island of Stromboli and you can take in the awe-inspiring view of the famous volcano – which last erupted in 2007.