The Heritage

Palazzo Branciforte

Palazzo Branciforte


Message of the Chairman


Emotions are still running high after the event of one year ago, 23 May 2012, when together with Gae Aulenti we welcomed the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, to open the newly restored Palazzo Branciforte.

The building, which had been a symbol of power over the centuries, with its wealth of prestige, and then later of Palermo’s poverty, with its Monte dei Pegni pawn house, has become a home for memories and a showcase for beauty.     

Palermo needs not to forget its memories, just as it is eager to rediscover the wealth of its treasures. The vast majority of the treasures of Fondazione Sicilia, which had always been kept in the dark rooms of Villa Zito, have now been entrusted in their perhaps blinding radiance to the curious eyes of tourists and the intelligent guardianship of the people of Palermo, particularly the young and very young, to help them be proud of their history, even its more difficult times, and aware of their heritage.          

In fact, while the Collections on display in Palazzo Branciforte are the property of Fondazione Sicilia, they are the moral heritage  of the people of Palermo, of the Sicilians, not unlike UNESCO heritage sites, the property of the countries to which they belong, yet entrusted to the civil conscious of all of humanity.    

Today, we are opening the doors to this corner of beauty for all those who would like to visit it, without any expense, to treat them to the memory of an unforgettable day. We also wish to honour the memory of Gae Aulenti and Ignazio Moncada di Paternò, the author of the splendid vault in the Library, who are sadly no longer with us today.       

To finish, a promise and an invitation. Following Palazzo Branciforte, the Fondazione Sicilia has decided to offer its Collection of paintings, the rediscovered heritage of the Fondazione, bringing together all the works that were once spread throughout the various premises of Banco di Sicilia, for the enjoyment of the people of Palermo, by putting them on display in Villa Zito, currently undergoing renovation.         

The date is set for 2014: 23 May perhaps, and this is both a promise as well as an invitation.        

Kind regards          

                                                                      Prof. Giovanni Puglisi

Palermo, Palazzo Branciforte, 23 May  2013



Palazzo Branciforte is a unique place, mixing identity and innovation. A place that combines history with archaeology, modern and contemporary art, books and the great Italian culinary tradition.

A sixteenth century building restored by architect Gae Aulenti at the behest of the Fondazione Sicilia, in which the extraordinary archaeological collection is displayed, not to mention ceramics, tine-glazed pottery, postage stamps, coins and sculpture, in a highly prestigious and effective architectural setting. An area which, thanks to its innovative and technologically advanced auditorium, can host conferences and major cultural events.

Pride of place among its more striking interiors is the wooden structure, the final testament of the “Monte dei pegni di Santa Rosalia” pawn house, steeped in history with its wooden shelving, internal stairs, raised platforms, walkways and the areas for storing the objects left by the people of Palermo during the years in which the Palazzo was home to the Monte dei pegni.

Another area of major prestige is the library, which comprises over 50 thousand volumes, and whose reading room is enriched by a marvellous fresco by Moncada di Paternò.

In the knowledge that culture, art and fine Italian cuisine have always stood as a testament to the Italian excellence that has made these sectors our nation’s best calling card, Gambero Rosso has created its famous Cookery school in a wing on the ground floor of this historical building.

The Palazzo is also home to Ristorante Branciforte. A restaurant for refined palates, open in winter as well as in summer in an extraordinary architectural setting, which makes it unique. Inside, it is possible to admire fine examples of tin-glazed pottery, produced between the fifteenth and the eighteenth century by Italian, European and Middle and Far eastern kilns, as well as two masterpieces of Italian nineteenth-twentieth century painting by Antonino Leto and Ettore De Maria Bergler.

Palazzo Branciforte (in via Bara all’Olivella, 2), is open to the public from November to February from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm; and from March to October from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm.
Last admission is 60 minutes before closing. 
Tickets: full price € 7.00; reduced € 5.00 (for groups of at least 15 people, over 65s and partner categories);
free of charge for schools and under 18s.
Admission to the library is free.