Villa Tasca in few words: a historic place and a family luxury home all in one.
Dating back to the 15th century, Villa Tasca is one of Sicily’s most prestigious and historic aristocratic residences.
The spacious and elegant suites, frescoed walls and ceilings, myriad works of art and collectible antiques, full-time staff and one of the most wondrous gardens in Sicily all combine to make a stay at Villa Tasca a truly unforgettable experience.
Located on the road from Palermo to Monreale, in a 20-acre park full of citrus orchards and majestic century-old trees, this awesome 18th century Villa can be the best place to taste the ancient legendary Sicilian luxury. This strategic position just off Palermo's ring road, means that both the old town centre and the Duomo of Monreale are within very easy striking distance. The central position of Villa Tasca also means that, alongside the singing of birds and the gentle aquatic murmur of the water features, some traffic noise can be heard in the garden.
The original villa was originally built in the 1500s, as a hunting lodge by the Baron of Montefalco, who considered the area, which was blessed with abundant streams, forests teeming with wild animals and easy access to Palermo, ideal for his needs. Over the centuries, Villa Tasca has been owned by some of Sicily’s most illustrious noble families who altered and improved the property in some way. The last significant changes were made in the mid-to late 18th century and the neo-classical form and decorative treasures we see today mainly date from that period.
The large interiors of the Villa are characterized by pastoral frescoes and tile-work that transmit the same balance of liveliness and serenity found in the garden.
The oasis which protects the villa is one of Sicily's most emblematic Victorian-era Romantic gardens. In the early 19th century, Giuseppe Lanza Branciforte extended and transformed the existing grounds following the romantic aesthetic of his day: he laid the foundations for the creation of a garden of delights, a project that his heirs, daughter Beatrice and son-in-law Lucio Mastrogiovanni Tasca (the first Tasca to inhabit Villa Tasca) continued with enthusiasm. They added myriad sitting areas, tree-lined promenades, lakes, fountains, crumbling grottoes, statues and miniature neo-classical follies. The curvilinear stone-bordered pathways and the lush tropical vegetation carry you away into a rich world of silence and suggestion. The English lawns, which have replaced the old flower beds while maintaining their original form, allow you to enjoy the garden even in everyday life with lightness and simplicity.
Beatrice and Lucio also initiated what would become a long tradition of VIP hospitality: anyone who was anyone visiting Palermo would almost certainly been fêted at one of Villa Tasca’s legendary soirées. Even to this days Villa Tasca remains a living environment where guests can be immersed in the same atmosphere enjoyed by Jacqueline Kennedy, King Ferdinand IV and Queen Caroline, Bismarck, Margherita di Savoia, and set to music by composers as Paganini, Verdi or Wagner who completed Parsifal while staying here in 1881.
The owner lives in a separated wing of the villa with private access.
Please enquire in case of guests with serious walking difficulties.
The arrival at Villa Tasca is through an elegant avenue of palm trees. The large first floor terrace looking over the grounds is the perfect spot for dinner in the summer months, while the covered terrace below is ideal for breakfast. The beautiful, mature gardens offer a series of teasing perspectives, intended to inspire philosophical contemplation and artistic endeavour. The huge variety of Mediterranean and tropical flora will delight amateur and professional horticulturalists alike, while the grotto, pavilion, swan lake (home to Tristan and Isolde), and huge, irregularly shaped swimming pool add a sense of fun and divertimento.
A grand double staircase sweeps up from the gardens to the main (noble) floor decorated and furnished with stunning neo-classical frescoes, majolica floor tiles created by the great Neapolitan master Attanasio in 1777, 17th century Palermitan furniture, Persian carpets and ornate, antique Murano glassware. Apart from the main drawing room with its beautiful terrace overlooking the gardens, the piano nobile is also home to the dining room, the music room (complete with grand piano and manuscripts signed by Wagner, Verdi and Artur Rubenstein), the TV room, a small service kitchen and two beautiful and generously proportioned suites, one with a double bed and one with a double bed and a French bed (making it an extremely spacious twin if necessary). Both have views over the gardens, large elegant dressing rooms and en-suite bathrooms with separate tub and shower. On the ground floor below, with access to a shady covered terrace looking out towards the gardens, is a billiard room, the library, a bar, the main kitchen and another two spacious double bedroom suites, both with en-suite bathrooms (one with tub and one with separate tub and shower).
Sitting Room 1
Sitting Room 2
Suite Blue with en-suite bathroom (3 steps) +
Suite Rosa with en-suite bathroom (4 steps)
2 extrabeds can be placed upon request in each room (tot 4)
First Floor (Noble Floor):
Sitting Room Blu
Sitting Room Monetari
Sitting Room Giallo
Living Room with piano (Music Room)
Suite Majolica with en-suite bathroom
Suite Contessa with boudoir and en-suite bathroom
2 extrabeds can be placed upon request in each room (tot 4)
• Bedrooms 4 (Double beds 3, Twins 1) + 8 extrabeds (2 in each room)
• Bathrooms 4 (of which en suite 4)
• Daily maid service
• Private chef (food costs are extra and payable on presentation of receipts)
• Concierge service
• Staff/owner on the grounds
• Pool (LxW in meters) 18x10
• Air conditioning in all bedrooms
• Phone landline
• iPhone/iPad/iPod connector
• Satellite TV (each bedroom has a TV with SKY Cinema and Sport)
• DVD Player
• ADSL Wi-Fi Internet
• Private Parking
• Shopping service upon request
• Laundry service upon request
• Driver upon request
• Wine-tasting upon request
Service at Villa Tasca:
Daily service from villa staff (also on Sundays and bank holidays).
The staff includes:
- 2 staff members (approx. 8 hours/day, from 9AM until 5PM) for cleaning and service at table
- 1 cook available for all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Food and drink costs will be paid for by the client on presentation of receipts.
- 1 hostess and 1 butler (approx. 8 hours day)
A driver is also available on request.
Palermo airport: 30km-19miles-30mins
Trapani airport: 113km-70miles-1hr20
Catania airport: 206km-108miles-2hr
Comiso airport: 231km-143miles-2hr45
Nearest shops/restaurants: 5 mins drive in local area
Palermo centre (shops and restaurants): 8km-5 miles-15mins
Nearest sandy beach in Mondello: 15km-9miles-30mins
Trapani centre: 108km-67miles-1hr20
Segesta archaeological site: 79km-49miles-1hr
Zingaro Nature Reserve and Scopello: 121km-75miles-2hr10
The local area and surroundings:
For those in search of the outside world, the wonders of Palermo, the beach at Mondello and the Cathedral and Cloisters of Monreale are just a short drive away.
Palermo is one of Italy’s largest, oldest and most historic cities. Full of art, and with a plethora of architectonic treasures (Andrew Graham-Dixon, the art historian, rated Palermo as his favourite city in the world in his BBC series Sicily Unpacked), Palermo deserves and rewards exploration. But Palermo means much more... and for sure it means also great shopping! You might like to head up to Via Liberta' and Via Ruggero Settimo for a little shopping therapy... Numerous big-name boutiques (Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, CK Jeans, Rolex, Chanel, etc.) and local specialists selling ceramics and other objéts d'arts line these two streets, offering rich pickings for those with a penchant for fine things.
After a tour of Palermo, you cannot miss the Palermo’s seaside resort: Mondello. Either spend a little time on the glorious sandy beach or make use of your honorary membership (as guests at Villa Tasca) of La Vela, Mondello’s most exclusive beach club.
if you're visiting between October and May, consider a night at the opera at Teatro Massimo, the third largest opera house in Europe.
Further afield (but equally feasible for day trips) are the Greek cities of Segesta and Selinunte, the Roman site at Solunto, the Phoenecian island of Mozia, the ancient city of Erice, the Egadi islands, the salt pans at Trapani, the wineries at Marsala and - last but not least - the coastal paths and crystal bays of Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve.
Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve was created in 1981 and is part of the rugged, rocky and spectacular coastline in the west of Palermo, just after Castellammare del Golfo. Stretching along the coast for 7km between the little village of Scopello in the east to near San Vito Lo Capo in the west, this park and its surrounding areas are one of the most beautiful parts of western Sicily. The park attracts both walkers and bathers alike and, in the summer, when many beaches are overcrowded, it is a good idea to head for Lo Zingaro, walk for half an hour and spend the rest of the day in relative isolation on a virtually deserted beach. The Nature Reserve is also a magnet for ornithologists who come to study the local bird population, which includes eagles, peregrine falcons, partridges, kestrels and various kinds of owl. On the animal front you may well cross paths with weasels, hedgehogs, foxes, lizards and even the occasional, harmless, vipers.
A day out visiting the twin sites of Segesta and Erice is another "must": the former is the site of an immaculate Elymian-Greek temple and a stunningly positioned theatre, while the second is a mediaeval hill-top town whose history dates back to Phoenician times and whose views take in over half of Sicily.
If you’ve been wondering how to cook "alla Siciliana", you can book a cooking experience with a member of the Tasca family. The Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School has been running for over 24 years. After shopping for ingredients in Palermo’s historic markets, you’ll learn how to create some Sicilian specialties, have a tour of this fascinating home and lunch on the fruits of your labors.
The Tasca family are also wine producers par excellence. Their family has been cultivating the land and producing some of Sicily’s finest wines for generations. Therefore, during your stay you must visit one of their wineries in the centre of Sicily for a guided tour, tasting and lunch. This trip is also a good excuse to see some of the island’s most stunning countryside, the Madonie Mountains, a totally different Sicily, a far cry to life in the big city or down by the coast.
Top-Tip: the 14th of July in Palermo is the Festino di Santa Rosalia, a celebration of the city's much loved and venerated patron saint, who is paraded through the old town centre from the Cathedral to the sea. As the procession finishes, the fireworks begin.
One of the best places to enjoy the special atmosphere of the Festino is Palazzo Lanza Tomasi, down on the sea-front in Palermo. You will be in the best possible vantage point from which to admire the stunning firework display that rounds off the evening's events.
Villa Tasca in the press:
* Villa Tasca in Les Echos, Série Limitée, September 2017
The article starts off with a visit of villa La Favorita, revealing where its name came from, and describing the Eden-like opulence of its gardens, with fountains, rare plant species and a stunning pool surrounded by citrus trees. It goes on with the interiors and the history of the house: built as a hunting lodge in 1840, it is full of eclectic objects from times past, that the current owner Elisabetta de Sarzana has preserved and sometimes even given a modern twist. The journalist then continues his trip towards the North, to Paceco near Trapani, where his next stop is the imposing villa Al Jafar with its extraordinary fortified tower. The villa offers a medieval setting with thick stone walls protecting from the heat and a pool surrounded by fragrant citrus trees. Arriving in Palermo, the journalist is then given a rather memorable first impression of Villa Tasca through its impressively long driveway lined with centuries-old palm trees. The neoclassical building from the 18th century hosts richly-decorated rooms with frescoes. An incredible oasis of calm and a quiet haven from the hustle and bustle of the city, which has hosted illustrious guests such as Wagner, Jackie Kennedy or Sophia Loren. In an age where travelling in space has become so easy, this journey into historical Sicily definitely has a very special edge.
"Our senses are blessed by the sound of a fountain, and the smell of jasmine and lemon. And of jacaranda, whose purple petals fall in front of us and cover the ground. Count Giuseppe de Sarzana, once an extremely rich landowner, built La Favorita in 1840 as a hunting lodge to escape life in Palermo."
Journalist Andreas Tölke follows quite literally in the footsteps of Richard Wagner, taking a pilgrimage to the 18th century Villa Tasca in Palermo where the famous composer took up residence, a friend of the Countess d'Almerita Tasca. Here he finds the grand piano which Wagner is said to have used whilst writing the score for Parsifal, and becomes acquainted with the Tasca family, the long-standing owners of the estate, who now run a cookery school to share their love for traditional Sicilian cuisine and the bountiful, fresh ingredients of the island.
German language lifestyle magazine Madame Online recommends Villa Tasca in its roundup of 17 desirable holiday homes
‘Styles’ magazine, a supplement of the French publication ‘L’Express’, features Villa Tasca in its round up of the most desirable places to spend New Year’s Eve
A long avenue of palms leads to Villa Tasca, Palermo's largest and most private residence, within a four-hectare garden, city seat of the great Tasca d'Almerita wine-making dynasty. Here one can now stay in 18th-century comfort as Wagner did... Comfort is key to life at Villa Tasca.