Palazzo Mirto and Family Filangeri
Palazzo Mirto in Palermo housed the princes of Lanza
Filangeri for four centuries. This old and noble family boasts two
possible legendary origins, both with historical records dating back
to the 11th century.
According to one historical record, a Norman knight
named Agerius I arrived in Italy. A century later his descendants,
called "Filii Augerii", moved to Sicily from Nocera.
The other legend credits a Norman knight named
Tancredi, who was present at the coronation of Roger as King of
Sicily. Two centuries later, documentary evidence informs us of the
several civil and religious offices held by the members of the
Filangeri family, who for its authority and enviable economical power
(they owned large estates) played an important role within the
During the late 16th century, Don Pietro Filangeri
married Francesca de Spuches, only daughter of Vincenzo de Spuches,
and took over the Palazzo Mirto, a de Spuches estate. Pietro
Filangeri was granted full powers on his lands and named first prince
of Mirto in 1643.
The male branch of the Filangeri family became
extinct in 1833, but to continue the name, Ignazio Lanza, who was
married to Vittoria Filangeri, was granted the power to use his wife's
titles, keeping the Filangeri name alive. The palace, built in the
13th century, was renovated to better suit the tastes of the new
In 1982, the last heir of the family, the noblewoman
Maria Concetta Lanza Filangeri, according to her brother Stefano's
last will, donated the palace to the Ministry of Cultural Assets, to
assure “better preservation and public enjoyment.” As a result,
Palazzo Mirto is one of the few aristocratic homes of Palermo open to
the general public, and gives a unique glimpse into the lifestyle of
Sicily's aristocratic families during the nineteenth century.
The opulent Baroque artwork, furniture and
furnishings, remain as they were, from the trompe l’oeil ceiling and
leather floor of the Chinese sitting room to the red marble staircase
to the Pompadour sitting room with a mosaic floor and silk walls
embroidered with flowers.
The Filangeri family, however, has moved to the New