Saturday, August 9, 2014

Palazzi of Santa Domenica Talao

When we first moved to the area, to say we were ignorant of its history is a bit of an understatement. As we began to study it in our Italian language class, we were confused and astonished at its complexity. Pre-historic peoples lived and died here, the ancient Greeks used this land for pasture, close-by in Papasidero, there is a Byzantine Church (Byzantium was the ancient Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire headquartered in Byzantium, New Rome, Constantinople, or Istanbul--to name most of its names). 

Some of the history is human behavior we can readily understand, here in Santa Domenica Talao, rich people built large homes (palazzi) to take advantage of the clean air and views to the sea just as we are today. The oldest of these were built during the period of the Enlightenment (1650-1800) which dawned following the Italian Renaissance and died with the violence of the French Revolution. 

We are living here at a time of rebuilding. It's wonderful to see some of these being restored while others have been split into separate apartments for a long time. Learning more of the history made these places more meaningful to us. Hope you can find them someday yourselves! This tour begins in the Piazza Popolo just behind the Church, goes through Centro Storico to the road to the cemetary, then back through Centro to the main piazza, Italia, or back to the main parking lot if you prefer:

1) Palazzo Lamboglia
This home was built around 1700. Its front door is called a Portone which is a very tall decorated arched entry usually with an iron grill covering the glass at the top. Our house (and many others around town) have copied this handsome style to lesser or greater levels of grandeur. Nothing says home better than a Portone.

Lamboglia houses at least two apartments, a butcher's shop (macelleria), and a bar/tabacco shop. A kind signora (who used to live in our neighborhood) showed me her apartment. Quite lovely and livable with a balcony overlooking the main piazza. Never a dull moment living there, I presume.

2) Perrone
This is the biggest and contains many apartments nowadays. The old Portone shown to the left was built with the building in about 1600. It is located behind the Church along the main road through town. The building is hard to miss but knowing its history can be missed for a long time...

3) Trifiglio
Near Perrone is Trifiglio--the name alludes to the fact that it was built by three brothers (tri-son...) around the end of the 1600's.

When you walk mindlessly through town, you may not be aware that this building has two main entrances, one in the back (shown to the left) and one in the front near the Church.

4) Palazzo Schiffino
The plaque on this huge Palazzo right next to the Church speaks of an illustrious family starting with Saverio Schiffino who apparently was a justice on the supreme court of the Bourbon king Ferdinand (Spain). We have seen restortation activities here. We hope we'll be here when it's done. It's a great place that goes forever (see below) around the corner from the main Portone.

Palazzo Campagna is being restored right now, it is partly empty and partly inhabited

This interesting plaque on 5) Palazzo Campagna says that Pasquale Campagna, a doctor and pharmacist lived in the 19th century and participated in the expedition of Garibaldi. However, the building was built in the 17th century (which it looks more like) in the baroque style (the gargoyles and mermaids on the loggiato shown to the left). Does this mean some missing history?? We'll have to ask our town's architect some day. He promised us a Palazzo tour but we never bothered him about it.

6) Nardi
Many of the older Palazzi are in need of restoration. This one doesn't show signs of any action in that direction. We love to see the restorations but also enjoy the feeling of passing time that the old ruins exude.


  1. Old houses have a special charm, don't they. You should bother the architect for a tour. I bet, he would be very pleased to see you so interested. :-)
    I, too, love seeing old houses being restorated. Like a symbol of hope and life.

  2. Thanks, Michelle,
    Always good to hear from "regular" commenters. Most of the comments seem to go on Guido's Facebook profile. I miss the old days when a few folks commented here. Thanks, again.

  3. Thanks for this - great for me to learn a bit about SDT and its history! See you soon!

  4. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  5. I would like to know more about palazzo Campagna, my family in Venezuela Came from Santa Domenica di Talao on the end of 1800s.



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