Asmundo di Gisira, design residence and legends in Catania
Authoritative British design, fashion, travel, entertainment and lifestyle magazine “Wallpaper” has proclaimed Asmundo di Gisira the Best Urban Hotel for 2018.
The interiors of this 18th-century aristocratic building in Catania – 400 square meters, just a stone’s throw from the famous Elephant Fountain – are inspired by myths about the city and Mount Etna, reinterpreted through contemporary design by Studio Gum, who strived to offer guests an experience way beyond simple sightseeing.
The architects’ conservative restoration recovered the decorative accents on the old wooden frames around doors and windows, the stucco details and frescoes on the vault ceilings. New, black wooden floors were added instead to echo the color of lava stone – the only exception being in the central section, where the early-1900s, decorated cement bricks from the palazzo’s mezzanine floors were used.
Six hotel rooms revolve around the central core of the structure, an ancient legend coming to life in each one: Proserpina (the goddess of agriculture), Uzeta (a brave knight who defeated the Saracen giants), Colapesce (a fisherman put to the test by Frederick II), Aci and Galatea (respectively the son of Pan and a beautiful sea nymph), and Eliodoro (name of both a legendary wizard from Catania and the stone elephant he sculpted).
And finally, of course, there is a beautiful homage to Saint Agatha, the venerated patron saint of the city.