The Fifth Prince

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Villa Palagonia was built in Bagheria to be the country home of the fifth Prince of Palagonia, a baron under the realm of the King of Spain. In 1715, when architect Tommaso Napoli began construction, Bagheria was about a one hour coach ride from the center of Palermo. In 1749, Ferdinando Gravina, the seventh Prince of Palagonia, commissioned over six hundred statues of monsters, fantastic characters, imaginary animals, knights, ladies, peasants, and musicians to be created to decorate the outer walls and grounds of the estate. Goethe visited Villa Palagonia in 1787 and noted that it was remarkably unique, commenting that the statues were a menagerie of egos.

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