By Martina Tanga

Giovan Battista Filippo Basile, who died on this day in 1891, was an Italian architect based in Palermo. From a modest family, Basile was fortunate to meet his benefactor, the horticulturalist Vincenzo Tineo, who sponsored his education and training to be an architect. He studied at the University of Palermo as well as the University of Rome (La Sapienza) where he took courses with the priest BarnabaTortolini and architect AngeloVenturoli.

The Teatro Massimo in Palermo was Basile’s most famous architectural project, a whimsical take on neo-classical design. It is the biggest in Italy, and one of the largest of Europe (the third after theOpéra National de Paris and the K. K. Hof-Opernhaus in Vienna). The building was eventually completed by his son Ernesto Basile. additionally, notable projects by Basile include the Neo-Gothic facade of the Acireale Cathedral; the villino Favaloro in Palermo (1889), also finished by his son Ernesto. Further, Basile designed several gardens such as for Villa Garibaldi and the English Garden in Palermo, Piazza Marina and Villa Vittorio Emanuele in Caltagirone.

Basile is buried in his family’s grave at the Cemetery of the scrolls in Palermo.


Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele II, opened in 1897, Palermo

The Façade of the Duomo of Acireale, completed 1889, Palermo

Villino Favaloro, 1889, Palermo

Further reading

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