The enchanted castle of Sciacca

An open air treasure

Many know that Sicily teems with art and culture. Monuments, villas, churches and palaces are scattered in every single part of the island. However, it is very common to discover new things and stories. Sicily has a rich cultural heritage which is present in many cities, in the small villages, but also in the countryside. This is the case of Agrigento and surroundings for the presence of places like cultural and natural sites, including beautiful beaches. If you are planning your next vacancy, don’t miss out the opportunity to discover this area staying in our Luxury villas in Sicily. Meanwhile, take your time to know the story of the enchanted castle.

The true story of a sculptor

Not too far from Agrigento, between hills and fertile lands, you could visit a mysterious and odd place. It belonged to a genius man, Filippo Bentivegna. He was born in Sciacca at the end of the nineteenth century. Then, he moved very soon to the US with his family. In New York, he worked a lot in a railway company for a long time. That man struggled every day for being part of American society. Anyways, his life changed when he fell in love for a young and beautiful girl. One day, a man beat him many times to kill him and avoid the marriage. After a long coma period, he started to suffer of amnesia and paranoia. Unfortunately, he was unable to work again, so he decided to come back in Sicily. There, far from people, he bought a wide land where to build a new house. From now, it began a new period for Filippo Bentivegna and his hermit life.

The “farmer king”

Few have not seen the enchanted castle of Sciacca. Indeed, it remained unknown for many years. In 1980, the property of Filippo Bentivegna was subsequently acquired by the Sicilian Region and today it is managed by the cooperative Agorà. The enchanted castle is an open-air museum with more than thousands of sculptures. The “farmer king” spent his time creating new figures every day sculpting stone and wood. In a certain way, Filippo Bentivegna has always interpreted the sculptures as human beings. They represented a small silent kingdom consisting of subjects and he spoke with them in an oratorical speech.
This kind of artwork is recognized the Art Brut or Outsider art in terms of free art or art made by self-taught. Indeed, F. Bentivegna has not studied sculpture or art in general. Probably, the carpenter trade has increased a practical approach, so he was brilliant for handling different materials. Today, the Art Brut Museum of Losanna has introduced a lot of artworks by Filippo Bentivegna in the permanent collection.

For your visit

The enchanted castle of Sciacca is located outside from the Sciacca center. Anyway, you’ll be there easily driving just for 10 minutes or you can also take the bus number 4 or number 5 in the downtown of Sciacca, from the square Scandaliato to the enchanted castle, from 9 a.m there is one every hour. The enchanted castle is open every day, but the opening time changes according to the period: 09:00 to 17:00 in the winter; from 09:00 to 20:00 in the summer. The visit duration is almost 50 or 60 minutes with a ticket of 5 euro (it is free for the children).

This article was written by Giulia Sofi
Today, she creates editorial content for cultural magazine and exhibition project.
Her articles have been published in some art magazine like CityRivista and Insideart.