A little more than 9 miles from Ragusa in southeastern Sicily sits a beautiful 14th-century castle with a pretty name - Donnafugata Castle. The word translates to “fugitive woman,” but the castle’s name stems from an Arabic word, so there’s no romantic story to go with it.
Donnafugata Castle is a patchwork of architectural and artistic styles, including one Venetian Gothic facade and Baroque interior. Visitors can walk through many decorated rooms on the first floor of the castle, including a Hall of Mirrors, smoking room, music room, royal bedrooms, and many rooms with trompe l’oeil paintings on the ceilings.
The castle’s gardens are also open to the public, including a Neoclassical temple building among the gardens of Mediterranean trees and plants. Tours of the filming locations for the “Inspector Montalbano” television series typically include a stop at Donnafugata Castle, which figures into the show as the residence of a mob boss.
In addition to the “Inspector Montalbano” show, Donnafugata Castle has also appeared in the films “Chaos” and “Il Racconto dei Racconti.” It is not the castle of the same name from the famous book, “The Leopard,” however.