The current building was presumably realized
by the heirs of the admiral Nelson at the beginning of the XIX°
century, to use it as stores and as a residence for the Duke or his
managers when coming to Bronte.
It was started as a restructure and extension of a pre-existent building,
(the architrave of the principal entry door shows the date of 1642).
It is constructed in masonry with walls of exceptional thickness.
All the openings of the first floor have jutting frame and architrave
opening on balconies in lava stone, of a varied profile, supported by
sculpted double mantelpieces and worked to sixth or seventh century style
drawings and banisters in wrought iron of particular interest (similar to the visible ones in a few balconies of the
The Nelson ex Palace is now in a very bad, abandoned state.
In the 1940s the building underwent heavy internal transformations with
the purpose of establishing there the Carabineers local barracks (modification
of the internal courtyards, building of cells, services and stables
The palace passed to the
Nelson after they won a long court case against don Vincenzo
Meli Papotto, Baron of Pisciagrò (a feud near Randazzo).
The baron (and his heirs), also boasting some rights of property
on the Ricchisgia estate that he had in lease, refused to pay the
Gabella (the canon) nor to the Big and New Hospital in Palermo
(that, had received in dowry, in 1494, by Pope Innocent
VIII being a property of the Maniace abbey), nor to the Nelson (to
whom it had been given, in 1799, by the King Ferdinand of
The long quarrel
finished with the victory of the Nelson, which, besides the
district Grangia of Ricchisgia (the ancient
Cartiera Araba, Arab paper mill), also dispossessed the Baron
of other assets: a citrus orchard in the Marotta feud, a baronial
palace in Scafiti street, other urban houses,
a feud in the slopes
of Etna and even the palace of Placido De Luca street, built in
In these three photos, a side view of the Palazzo (seen from Via
Manzoni) that the Nelson used in Bronte as a warehouse and
residence of the administrators and some seventeenth-century
balconies of the building. Note the elegant lava stone
supporting shelves and the wrought iron railings with the belly
Photo on the top right: in the background of the group that goes
to the church for a wedding (1930-40) you can see on the right
side the main entrance of the Nelson palace (corso Umberto,
facing Piazza Cappuccini, see maps ). Note the new lava paving
just made in Corso ("i barati") and the dirt road. In the other
photos, some residual evidence that preserves traces of the
original architectural structure of the Palazzo Nelson and, in
the photo on the left, a vision of today's internal elevation
(Palazzo Municipale side).
At the top left two cadastral maps of Nelson's property in Bronte
(the Palazzo Ducale or "il Casermone di Bronte" as he defined
it, in 1924, in his memoirs, the V Duke, Alexander Nelson Hood).
The large garden, today the seat of the municipal building, is
green in the 1875 map.