Borgo Parrini is a modern fairy tale, where its Prince Charming, Giuseppe Gaglio, saves an entire town, thanks to the power of beauty, transforming it into one of the most evocative villages in the world, populated by works of art, artist’s ateliers and an extraordinary “Dream Museum”.
Near Palermo, in the municipality of Partinico, Borgo Parrini was founded by the Jesuit fathers (“parrini” in Sicilian) in the 17th century and saw a period of turmoil at the end of the 18th century when it passed into the hands of the French duke Henri d’Orleans who here will produce Moscatello dello Zucco wine.
After the war, Borgo Parrini followed the fate of many places in Sicily which were gradually abandoned in favor of work in the city. Until the end of the 90s, when the entrepreneur and artist Giuseppe Gaglio decided to do something to change the fate of his town and began painting the walls of the houses he owned with huge mural paintings.
Beauty exists in the eyes of those who observe, in the hearts of those who love, in the minds of those who create!(Giuseppe Gaglio)
Today, thanks to Giuseppe’s tenacity and that of many artists and associations who have embraced his dream, Borgo Parrini has become a true laboratory of Sicilian culture in which, literally, every corner and room has been transformed into works of art.
Leave aside every image and cliché you see on Instagram and, above all, don’t think that they can in any way convey to you the emotion of a visit, perhaps accompanied by the vivid narration of the many artists and storytellers who work here today.
Starting from the beautiful atelier of Antonio Vinci, a painter, who had left Borgo Parrini to look for work and who, from Rome, has now moved back thanks to the opportunity offered by the ever-increasing number of visitors arriving there from all over the world.
In his atelier shop, you can admire many of his paintings hanging on the walls, knights, animals, an exciting Christ on the cross, as well as seeing him at work with his characteristic recycled pebbles, paintings in the shape of prickly pears and other symbols Sicilians, which you will definitely want to take home.
A little further on, there is the Cantiere di Cultura Popolare with the Ethnographic Museum of the Sicilian Cart where the artist and collector Filippo Grillo will be able to reveal all the secrets of this ancient art and you can purchase small household objects painted with the characteristic decorations of this ancient means of work.
The heart of the village, absolutely worth visiting, is the Dream Museum, located in the central square of the village, which can be accessed, also to purchase the ticket, from Gianluca Filippi‘s craft shop, in the beautiful yellow house decorated with azulejos.
From here, accompanied by a local guide, an incredible world will reveal itself before you where murals inspired by the greatest artists in the world combine with traditional Sicilian arts, made of dark brown heads, lace and colored majolica.
Visiting the rooms dedicated to the rural peasant houses, you will certainly be captured by the beauty of the wrought iron bed headboards, the kitchen covered in blue majolica and the chenille bedspreads with floral decorations.
Right in the house opposite, on the first floor, there is an exhibition dedicated to the Sicilian “puppets”pupi” of the “Puparo” Vincenzo Garifo of Partinico with paintings by Flippo Grillo. Here you can watch an incredible immersive show lasting about 15 minutes in which, through a play of lights and narrative voices, the epic deeds of the most famous knights and ladies are told.
Next, we visit the wonderful rooms dedicated to the dream in the history of art, inspired by the painters who celebrated it most: Chagall, Monet, De Chirico and Van Gogh.
The visit ends on the terrace on the top floor where, in addition to a beautiful view of the village, you can admire the chimneys of the houses transformed into reproductions of the most beautiful “towers” in Sicily, from the dome of the Cathedral of Ragusa Ibla to that of the Cathedral of Palermo.
And if just one man could trigger all this, think what the power of art can really do in the world.
There are many artists who have contributed to “decorating” Borgo Parrini, including Gianfranco Fiore, famous for having signed some of the fashion brand’s most iconic objects inspired by traditional Sicilian arts on behalf of Dolce&Gabbana.
Partinico, 90047 Palermo
Entrance Dream Museum: 6 euro