Donnafugata Castle

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Donnafugata Castle
Native name
Italian: Castello di Donnafugata
Donnafugata 01.jpg
An angled view of the balcony above the entrance to the castle.
LocationDistrict of Donnafugata, Ragusa, Sicily, Italy
Nearest cityRagusa
Coordinates36°52′55″N 14°33′49″E / 36.88194°N 14.56361°E / 36.88194; 14.56361Coordinates: 36°52′55″N 14°33′49″E / 36.88194°N 14.56361°E / 36.88194; 14.56361
Built14th century

Donnafugata Castle (Italian: Castello di Donnafugata [kaˈstɛllo di ˌdɔnnafuˈɡaːta]) is 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from Ragusa in Sicily, Italy.

Although the origins of Donnafugata Castle can be traced to the 14th-century most of its current Neo-Classical and Neo-Gothic appearance belongs to the 19th.[1]


Loggia of the castle.
Detail of the stone labyrinth.

The name is possibly the result of a linguistic corruption of the Arabic toponym عين الصحة ('Ayn al-Ṣiḥḥat, i.e. Source of Health). In Sicilian it turns into Ronnafuata.[citation needed]

Alternatively, Donnafugata could translate from Italian as approximately "fugitive woman" or "woman who fled". Based on this interpretation, one legend claims that Queen Blanche of Navarre, widow of King Martin I of Aragon, was in hiding from Count Bernardo Cabrera [it], who wanted to marry her and assume leadership over Sicily. She hid in Donnafugata Castle until it was taken under siege by Cabrera, during which Giovanni Moncada helped her flee and hide again in the Steri Palace in Palermo.[2] While this story may be true, it is not whence the castle's name originates.[citation needed]

Another source claims that the name Donnafugata refers to Queen Maria Carolina, wife of Ferdinand IV, who was confined to a palace in Santa Margherita di Belice by Lord William Bentinck, British military governor of Sicily from 1811-1816.[3]


  1. ^ "Donnafugata: masseria fortificata, casina neoclassica, castello neogotico, riflessioni su una mutazione".
  2. ^ Quatriglio, Giuseppe (1997). "Chapter IV: One Queen and Many Barons". A Thousand Years in Sicily (4th ed.). Legas / Gaetano Cipolla. p. 70. ISBN 0-921252-17-X.
  3. ^ "Donnafugata Tour: Santa Margherita - Sicily Day Tours".

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