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Who were the Florio's? The story of one of the greatest Sicilian families.

Florio’s family is one of the most famous in Sicilian history, why do they attract our attention? Popular during the Belle Époque, this great family made Sicilian culture and economic improve and was one of the richest family during the 17th century.

The Florio’s family was originally from Calabria, from the city of Bagnara Calabria, but after a terrible earthquake, they left it in search of a luckier place and decided to move to Palermo, where three generations of Florio successfully lived.

The most famous people of the family were Paolo Florio, the first of the Florio’s generation, who arrived in Palermo decided to establish in the area of Castellammare, Vincenzo Florio, who started to build an economic empire, that considerably increased with Ignazio Florio, and finally Ignazio Junior and his elegant and cultured wife Donna Franca, with them, though, the rich period of the family started its decline, because of the socioeconomic conditions of the Italian government.

What are the Florios famous for? This valuable family invested and built works, that are cultural heritage in Palermo.

It started with their aromas shop, in Via dei Materassai, here began their success, that increased more and more with the commerce of Chianino, an antipyretic; then they founded the famous winery in Marsala; invested in fish market with the Favignana tuna trap, that incentivized fishing and a new method of production was experimented for the first time, tuna preserved in oil (it is famous today the Tonno Florio®, produced and consumed in Sicily); they also founded the Orotea Foundry, one of the firsts metalworking factories in Sicily during the 17th century; the Targa Florio, a famous automobile race; and funded works for the construction of Teatro Massimo, that has two lions in the gateway, allegory of tragedy and lyric.

What is left of Florios in Palermo?

  • Palazzo Florio, a wide palace, where the greatest noble families lived

  • Villa Igiea, one of the greatest liberty masterpieces, it was Florio’s family residence, designed by the great architect Ernesto Basile

  • Villino Florio all’Olivuzza, nearby the “Zisa” quarter, built in memory of Ignazio and Franca’s eldest son

  • Palazzina dei Quattro Pizzi all’Arenella, a quadrangular palace, characterized by four spines that stand above

Coming back from where the Florio’s family started, nearby Via dei Materassai, in the heart of the Castellamare quarter, there is our Maravigghia Hub, where we can assist you and make you discover more about Florio's, with a Tour about this great family called “Lions of Sicily”.

Don’t miss it and come to visit us!

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