Out to the south-west of Ragusa itself, there is a castle with an unusual name. In recent times, Donnafugata Castle has become known as a Mafia lair – not in real life, of course, but the Commissario Montalbano television series, where the Mafia boss Balduccio Sinagra resides.
In reality though, this stunning castle is open to the public and is well worth a visit out into the Province of Ragusa to see. Many who come to Ragusa for a holiday allocate a day to head out to explore it. Dating back to the 14th century, the castle is less than 10 miles from Ragusa itself, and is easily accessible. No one quite knows where the castle’s unusual name comes from, but there are assorted local legends and stories that may perhaps be better than the truth!
Many who see the castle are impressed by its solidity and imposing nature. While not all of the castle dates back to the 14th century, there are Venetian Gothic features on the outside that give you a sense of why the TV crew chose the castle to feature on Commissario Montalbano. It certainly is quite beautiful to look at.
Your tour of the castle should also include exploring the surrounding grounds. These include lush greenery and a charming stone-built labyrinth. This is bigger than you might assume so expect it to take a short while at least to find your way out. It’s well worth attempting though, especially if you have children with you.
Make sure you check the latest opening times before you make the trip to Donnafugata Castle. The times can vary during the year and it is not always open every day. You can go inside the castle (or villa, as you may also see it described) but only on the first floor. Here there is a selection of rooms, each of which is quite ornamental in nature. Make sure you look up when you enter each room – some of the finest detailing is in the coving and ornamental features on the ceilings. It may not be to your taste, but you cannot help but be impressed by the sheer detail that has gone into each and every area of the property.
Make sure you explore fully outside too – there are some wonderful views to be had from here. Additionally, a number of walking trails start from this point. If you have the day to spare, you can try one of them for size.