They Say a Man’s Home Is His Castle, But This Guy May Have Gone Too Far

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a shoeshine boy who planned to become king. Of course, no one believed him. However, some 50 years later, the shoeshine boy had indeed proved them wrong. After making a small fortune disposing of factories’ waste following a 1990s-era government cleanup in Brazil, Ivanio Batista da Silva built himself a castle on the edge of Cubatão’s mangrove swamps, complete with turrets, chandeliers, and ornate golden columns. Replica brass lions stand guard over his velvet throne, swords, and an improvised art collection that includes 32 framed photocopies of the world’s most famous paintings. Silva began work on his castle 15 years ago, designing ever-more-extravagant additions to his house with the help of some baffled workmen. “When the first turret went up, everyone made fun of us,” said Gustavo Silva, Ivanio’s 24-year-old son, “but now we’re a tourist attraction.” Not everyone is a fan of Silva’s castle. Some residents say it’s a bit over the top. Even his wife, Maria, questions his latest project to build a 60-foot-long dragon on the roof. After 30 years of marriage, she has adopted a stoic approach.