Villa Naselli of Gela at Ambleri (Villa Agliata-Naselli)
The villa is located not far from the historic center of Palermo, in the old peasant village of Villagrazia, once the Ambleri district, located between the Oreto river and Mount Orecchiuta.
It is also known as Villa Agliata-Naselli or Naselli-Ambleri, from the name of the owner families and the locality in which it is located; in particular, Ambleri (from the Arabic ayn billawri, “crystalline source”) is the name of the water source that still today flows into the garden of the villa. The villa complex represents one of the typical cases in the Palermo countryside of agricultural beam extended and improved over the centuries and elevated to the rank of villa; probably of very ancient origin, it is said that it was built on the remains of some buildings of the Arab age, placed to defend the Ambleri spring. The first owner family of which we have news is that of the Alliata (or Agliata) of Villafranca, who already owned it from the second half of the fifteenth century; later, in the eighteenth century, the property came to the Naselli counts of the dukes of Gela, who are still the owners and jealous guardians. In particular, we must remember the last count Francesco Paolo Naselli who oversaw the restoration of most of the buildings and improved the garden also with the planting of exotic essences, such as Kiwi and Anona.
At each change of ownership the villa was modernized and adapted to the tastes of the time, each family and each person added their own; the one visible today is the last architectural garment given to it by the Naselli between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. The villa, still surrounded by the ancient Sicilian garden planted with citrus fruits, is formed by a complex of buildings arranged around a courtyard, which is accessed from the seventeenth-century portal surmounted by the family crest: the manor house, with an adjoining neo-Gothic tower and an elegant baroque hanging garden, and the low bodies, once stables and warehouses, including the former caretaker's house, originally a porticoed belvedere on the plain of Palermo (some fifteenth-century arches remain), and the style chapel Neo-Gothic built in the late nineteenth century.The villa is known for its Camera dello Scirocco, built in 1552 by the magnificent Gerardo Alliata, a hydraulic work for capturing the water of Ambleri but also a place to enjoy the coolness on sultry summer days. (Text source: Municipality of Palermo)
Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero
Information contributions: Web, Region of Sicily
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