In 1904 the Marchese Gravina, a nobleman from Sicily, built a villa with explicit references to the Arab-Norman architecture expressed in the Church of the Hermits and the southern façade of the Norman Palace in Palermo and the famous cathedrals of Cefalu’ and Monreale.
The villa is located in the Historical Centre of Rome, just behind the Italian Ministry of Justice in via Arenula, between Ponte Sisto and Isola Tiberina on the left bank of the Tiber, not far from piazza Farnese, via Giulia, piazza Argentina and across the river, Trastevere . It boasts a floor space of 1,000 sqm with a garage of 160 sqm surrounded by a 300 sqm garden .
The Moorish style is notable in the façade towards the Tiber with its hand-chiselled cornices, its mullioned windows with pointed arches and in the ornamental medallions with the five-pointed star motive copied from Islamic decoration. This marked reference to eclectic Arab-Norman architecture represented a real novelty and singularity in the building world within the historical centre of King Umberto’s Rome.
The beautiful 100-sqm roof terrace facing the Lungotevere has an airy tower, “Altana”, surmounted by a hemispherical dome, with two and three-mullioned windows and pointed Moorish arches.
The rear of the building overlooks the old via Zoccolette and has its own separate entrance with spacious and easy access to the garage, which is connected internally to the house.
The oval staircase, marbling, panelling, trompel’oeil, wooden boiserie, inlaid patterned parquet flooring and old briar-wood doors are all of prestigious workmanship giving a particularly elegant glow.
The false ceilings, frescoed in pure Sicilian style, are reminiscent of the late Baroque and Rococo periods of the island’s architecture which reflects the memory of long, hot sunny days, the scent of orange groves and the sea. This is an exclusive and prestigious dwelling suitable for entertaining on a grand scale.