Presentation of the book, “The Villa of Alchemy. Alchemical and esoteric elements of Villa Palagonia” by Piero Montana
Saturday, Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m.
On Saturday, February 10 at 5:30 p.m. on the premises of the Center for Art and Culture “Piero Montana” will be presented the new book, ” The Villa of Alchemy. Alchemical and esoteric elements of Villa Palagonia” by Piero Montana. The presentation will be made by writer Rosanna Balistreri, journalist Marina Mancini, and Culture Councilor Daniele Vella. The mayor of Bagheria, Filippo Maria Tripoli, will be present.
Montana’s book starts from an account by the English traveler Patrick Brydone, who in 1770 while visiting Villa Palagonia also had the opportunity to enter the bedroom of Ferdinando Francesco Gravina Junior, Prince of Palagonia, and to observe with much amazement that it was filled with marble sculptures depicting animals of all species, so much so that he wrote in his book “Journey to Sicily and Malta” that this bedroom of our Prince seemed to him a compartment of Noah’s ark. Brydone did not even suspect upon entering this chamber that he was standing before a sacred place, a place of terrible visions and prophetic dreams sent from Above to our Prince to reveal to him the imminent end of the world, which, however, would only be the end of his world: the collapse of the Ancien Régime, the putting to death of God, contemplated in the capital execution of His representative on the soil of France, Louis XVI, guillotined on January 21, 1793 as well as the almost total annihilation of the aristocratic class.
Starting from this sacred place of terrible prophecies, he examines and studies all the other rooms of the Villa, finding in the decorative elements of them hermetic and esoteric symbols pertaining to the Art of the Great Work. The author of the book therefore believes that he is dealing in this study with a “Philosopher’s Abode,” in which the Prince of Palagonia was preparing for the realization of the Philosopher’s Stone, the only one that would have the power to multiply the noble spirit and thus avert the disappearance of nobility from the face of the earth.
The villa of alchemy consists of three parts. The first is a brief introduction to alchemy understood as a hermetic science of the soul and not as a science of nature (chemistry). The second which consists of a brief but indispensable introduction to spiritual alchemy in which the work of Ferdinando Francesco Gravina Junior should be framed. The third part is the one in which the author examines and studies all the alchemical and esoteric elements present in the images of the statues, frescoes and decorative elements of the villa, making sensational discoveries. This systematic study of the occult symbols of Villa Palagonia, never attempted before, can certainly be considered very exhaustive and complete from the results obtained. In this study Montana made use of his personal acquaintance with a vast alchemical literature as well as the guidance of spiritual masters of our time such as René Guénon, Julius Evola, Eugène Canseliet, Mircea Eliade, Carl Gustav Jung, and above all Henry Corbin, more often cited in his book.
Since Villa Palagonia has so far been seriously studied only by competent architects, who have described it to us in all its architectural elements, also providing us with, in addition to its iconographic models, interesting historical information on the Gravina family starting from the its mythical royal origins, our author in this book of his wanted to deal only with that hermetic and esoteric knowledge, which despite the devastation of the villa, carried out upon the death of our Prince by his half-brother Salvatore Gravina, still remains in it today but of all hidden, hidden from profane eyes.