Duchi di Santo Stefano Palace in Taormina
The Palazzo Duchi di Santo Stefano di Taormina is a masterpiece of Sicilian Gothic art .
The building features of the Sicilian Middle Ages and characteristic Gothic elements are easily identifiable in the fourteenth-century palace , Normans, Catalans and Arabs.
The imposing square-shaped structure, the position of the building on the walls of the ancient village and the presence of crenellated walls recall the architecture of Norman structures. On the main facades there are also: elements of Arab art such as the imposing frieze in lava stone decorated with rhomboidal inserts in white Syracuse stone; Gothic-style elements such as the richly decorated mullioned windows on the second floor. The lights of the mullioned windows are surmounted by a trilobate lace on the right and left of the central column which ends in a pointed arch under which a pierced rose window appears.
The monument overlooks a small but suggestive garden, which develops on a steep terrain in front of the east and north facades of the building, full of plants and palm trees and in which there is a small well for collecting water rain.
The building is spread over three levels. The ground floor is accessed through a pointed arch decorated with an alternation of lava stone and Taormina granite. Originally the first floor was accessed through a complex system of drawbridges and escalators through a small door still visible on the facade; from 1700 there is a staircase leading to the first floor.