The history of Palazzo Castro Grimaldi began in the XVII century. At first, the villa looked much different than it does today.
The noble Castro family, who were cavalieri and important Sicilian landowners, built their residence in Modica after the great earthquake of 1693 which destroyed the greater part of Val di Noto.
The structure resembled that of a town-villa. One large space developed on three floors, while a vast garden grew on two sides so as not to feel the loss of the cherished country-side during the winter months. On another side, horses were stabled and carriages housed.
One of the peculiarities of the Palazzo are its two façades. The first is subtler and rather conceal and allows entrance into the villa. The other stands triumphantly over Modica and presents a ca. twenty-metre-long terrace with a unique and incomparable view.
In 1890, Francesco Castro, sole heir to the family fortune, married a young Donna Grazietta Grimaldi, last descendent of the most illustrious family of Modica, from a secondary branch of the family of Prince Grimaldi of Monaco. After they were married, cavaliere Francesco Castro and his wife decided to change the villa considerably, enlarging and decorating it in the classical and subtler style that is still preserves today. Moreover, following the widening of the street that connects Modica Alta to Modica Bassa, the plan of the villa, which used to restrict this street greatly, acquired its characteristic and present diamond shape. The restoration and modern décor were completed in 1903, which is the date that appears at the entrance, on the first floor.
In 1920, cavaliere Francesco Castro died and left his wife Grazietta a widow of 42 years of age without heirs. Grazietta never remarried and dedicated her life to her studies, faith and charity. Her benevolence contributed to sustain various religious men, seminarists and young secular men from Modica and allowed them to persevere in their studies.
Since Donna Grazietta Grimaldi was the last descendent of the noble Grimaldi family in Modica, when she died in 1960 the villa was inherited by her nephew, the lawyer Raffaele Tommasi Rosso who lived there until he died and preserved most part of the original and precious furnishings, porcelain collections and cutlery. The villa is still the property of Raffaele Tommasi Rosso’s direct descendents, who keep his memory and style alive.