The Antonio Pasqualino International Puppet Museum is currently located inside the Hotel de France, a building which is particularly interesting form both an architectural and a historical point of view. It is city centre of Palermo, near the monumental Piazza Marina.
Originally – in the XVIII century – the Hotel de France was the palace of the Marquis Onofrio del Castillo. It is in 1808 that it became a hotel and after two managements during which it acquired some Anglo-Saxon names ("Crown", "Anchor Hotel" and then "Prince of Wales"), in 1838 it had its golden era. That was the time of the management of the entrepreneurs Giachery who had arrived from Padua. It's they who installed there the Hotel de France previously located in Cassaro street (one of he main roads of Palermo).
For a century and a half – from the beginning of the XIX century to the mid-XX century – the Hotel de France hosted the most prestigious personalities of the historical, political, cultural and aristocratic fields. For instance, Joe Petrosino (the Italian-American policeman murdered by mafia in front of the gate of the hotel on March 12, 1909); the founding father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud (who wrote a few precious letters in the rooms of the hotel); Francesco Crispi, Edmondo De Amicis, Nino Bixio and Mary Dustin, Wagner's favourite soprano.
In the first two decades of the XX century Luigi Giachery wrote that the Hotel de France had 115 rooms with 160 beds, a lobby overlooking Villa Garibaldi, a big dining room, two breakfast rooms, one smoking room, one reading room, a magnificent winter garden and a large summer garden.
In 1936, after the closure of the hotel, the building was bought by the University of Palermo and today it has come to live again thanks to an accurate renovation which has allowed to recover the old signs, steps, frescoed ceilings if Liberty style and the scenic terrace.
Put under the constraint of the Superintendence for Cultural Goods, today the Hotel de France houses the Antonio Pasqualino International Puppet Museum. Its impressive heritage is housed in some of the Hotel rooms , such as the winter garden and the ballroom, this latter hosting the Museum's theatre in an elegant meeting between Liberty style and the heritages of humanity.
The Museum develops on three levels and has many exhibition rooms, a bookshop, the library "Giuseppe Leggio", a multimedia library collecting a valuable collection of video, audio and photographic records, and a theatre used for a considerable theatrical activity as well as seminars.
An avant-garde and treasured Museum in Sicily, which is dedicated to Sicilian puppet theatre, a theatrical form which was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Intangible and Oral Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (2001).

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