The opulent Sicilian castle featured in the third instalment of The Godfather franchise as well as the erotically charged film, A beautiful November, has just gone on the market. For a cool €6m prospective buyers can expect 22 bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a wine cellar, an artist’s studio, a library, a private chapel and 2.1 acres of parkland.
But what about the art collection for which the neo-Gothic villa was built at the end of the 19th century?
Some of it is indeed being sold with the castle. For instance, the suite of frescoes painted in the chapel by the Sicilian artist Giuseppe Sciuti in 1905 will remain in situ, according to a spokeswoman for Sotheby’s International Realty in Italy, which is selling the property. Likewise, the marble bust of Pennisi installed at the end of a palm tree-lined avenue leading up to the sprawling 43,055 sq.ft complex, by the Italian sculptor Giuseppe Prinzi, is “an integral part of the castle” and will be included in the sale.
However, it was for his extensive numismatic collection that Baron Agostino Pennisi di Floristella commissioned the Palermo architect Giuseppe Patricolo to build the castle in Acireale, on the site of a former hotel and spa. The majority of that collection, numbering more than 1,600 gold and silver Greek-Sicilian coins and purchased by the Sicilian Region in 1987, is now held at the Paolo Orsi Museum in Syracuse.
Other works in the collection, including several paintings by the baron's grandson and post-war artist, Paul Pennisi, as well as numerous decorative works, remain in the Pennisi family’s collection and are not for sale.