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Bagheria aka as Baarìa in Sicilian

July 31, 2017

In 1989, while living in Virginia, I saw an Italian movie, Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, which won an Academy Award as Best Foreign Film.  Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, a native of the Sicilian town of Bagheria, told the story of a projectionist, Alfredo, and his young assistant, Salvatore during the 1960’s. Most of the movie is played as a flashback of Salvatore’s memories from his childhood years spent in Bagheria and shows the deep friendship that had grown over the years between Salvatore and Alfredo as they both worked the projector in the town cinema, named Paradiso. Under Alfredo’s encouragement,  when he grows up, Salvatore leaves Bagheria to pursue a career in movie making and does indeed become a successful moviemaker living and working in Rome.  In the movie, Salvatore, who has been away from Sicily for thirty years, learns of the death of his old projectionist friend, Alfredo, and returns for Alfredo’s funeral.  Ever since I saw the movie, many years ago, I had wanted to visit the town of Bagheria, located not far from Palermo, and I finally did on a hot summer day.

I started my walk around town at the Bagheria Train Station.


Walking down the alley across from the train station.




Corso Umberto during afternoon siesta when shops are closed.

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In the XVIII century, Bagheria became the summer vacation spot for many wealthy families from Palermo.  There are many villas that were built in those days but only one is open to the public.

One of the Villas is Villa Trabia

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While walking down the Corso on that HOT summer afternoon, I saw these two young girls out for their stroll.


The only Villa open to the public for visitation is Villa Palagonia.  I arrived at the Villa during Siesta and had to wait until it reopened for the afternoon visiting hours.

Entrance to Villa Palagonia

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Inside Villa Palagonia, one of the attractions is the large room of the mirrors, il Salone deli Specchi.

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Finally, Villa Palagonia is also called la Villa dei Mostri, the Villa of the Monsters, as the walls delineating the gardens are adorned on the top by statues portraying various fantasy animals and humans.

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  1. Very interesting! I love your posts!

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