Basile’s Neo-Arab-Norman Style

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I’ve driven past this site on the Stràda Statàle between Palermo and Bagheria many times, and I’ve always been intrigued by its architectural details. Now, I finally know its story: Built in 1905, Stand Florio was constructed for the industrious Florio family as a daytime sea-side resort for their friends and associates–members of Palermo’s nouveau riche elite. On its grounds they played soccer/football and water sports and socialized. Stand Florio was designed by Palermo architect Ernesto Basile who at the turn of the 20th century lead a Neo-Arab-Norman architectural movement celebrating Sicily’s unique stylistic elements; i.e., Stand Florio is a classic example. Although today Stand Florio is in disturbing disrepair, it is still a fascinating example of the Liberty architectural style (i.e., a “freer” style) of Palermo’s pre-Fascist period.

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