The Genio fountain nearby Piazza Rivoluzione in the historic district of Kalsa gave its name to the Stanze al Genio Museum Home. This is a privately-owned museum that hosts some 5,000 pieces of Italian tiles and is hosted in a private apartment on the first floor, or piano nobile, of the 16th century Torre Pirajno Palace. This palace, which originally belonged to Fernandez di Valdes, passed to the Torre-Benso Principi della Torre in the eighteenth century and successively to the Pirajno family, was divided into multiple apartments at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was only in recent years that the owners, who reside in the palace, were able to acquire and unite other dwelling units that were part of the original piano nobile. The eight rooms underwent complete refurbishment, which led to the recovery of the original decorations (hidden by layers of plaster), the dado paneling and a large portion of the original flooring. The main collection consists of glazed tiles from Sicily and Campania used for floors and wall tiling, manufactured between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries for the pleasure and enjoyment of privileged society, which included the aristocracy, the wealthy middle class and the religious communities. With almost 5000 pieces on display, it is one of the largest private collections open to the public in all of Europe. Inside there are other small vintage collections regarding old stationery, tin boxes, and old toys, as well as contemporary ceramic works.
Each of the rooms has a name along with its peculiarities: The Liberty Room, for example, takes its name from the ceiling decorations of the Art Nouveau period, “Liberty” style in Italian. Here you will admire Sicilian tiles and pavements from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries. Some of the tiles are pretty rare. The Neoclassic room, instead, is named for the ceiling decorations and the mid-nineteenth century Neapolitan pink and black maiolica floor. In this room you will also find a copy of a mosaic in an ancient villa of Pompeii with the famous inscription “Cave Canem”.
The eight rooms open to the public all year, and can always be visited upon reservation that are also used daily by the owners. The exhibition itinerary is carried out with guided tours.