Visit the Palazzi Gentilizi - the noble palaces in the village of Guardavalle
Slow holidays in Calabria all year long
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The Palazzi Gentilizi in Guardavalle

The streets of the historic centre of Guardavalle are bordered by ancient noble palaces, as testimony to a prosperous past. Amongst these is the Palazzo Spedalieri, once home to the well-known Cardinal Guglielmo Sirleto. The building was constructed within two different periods – the part overlooking Piazza Immacolata dates back to the 1700s, whilst that overlooking the river is from the 1600s. The white façade is characterised by baroque adornments, with a balcony perched above the granite portal. Within, one’s gaze is drawn to the paving of the entrance hall and a reproduction of the noble chapel of the church of Sant’Ignazio.

Nearby, alongisde the Chiesa del Purgatorio on Via Garibaldi, is the 19th-century Palazzo Falletti. The construction dates back to the mid-1800s and has monolithic granite columns surrounding the portal, in turn surmounted by a balcony. Crossing the monumental door leads to a large entrance hall connecting to the cellars and upper floors, whilst beyond the beautiful wrought iron gate created by the artisans of Serre Calabresi area, there is a hanging garden with colourful flower beds. In the piazza before the mother church stands the Palazzo Salerno from the 16th century. Prominent on the portal is the family crest represented by a rampant lion with a crown and two stars at the peak of each side. From the entrance hall, there is a large granite staircase leading to the 3 upper levels where the bedrooms, living rooms and studios are found. Also to be admired is the iron olive press, the terracotta containers for storing the olive oil and the wooden furniture in which provisions were stored.

Standing guard over the entire town is a most imposing building, the Palazzo Sirleto. Constructed at the beginning of the 17th century by the nephew of Cardinal Sirleto, it has never been entirely completed. Of the four walls designed, only one was ever built, bearing a Renaissance style and extending along the current Via San Carlo. The ground floor is comprised of the oil mill and the large cellars, whilst the upper floors were inhabited until a few decades ago. On Via Marconi, rather, is the Palazzo Criniti. Upon passing through the external granite portal, you reach the main door adorned with a family crest that is no-longer readable.  Downstairs is the living area, the kitchen and a room with paintings representing scenes of everyday life, whilst the upper floor still preserves the furniture from the 1800s. Then on Via San Carlo is Palazzo Riitano, with its ancient portal in neoclassical style with baroque volutes.

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