Here at Butera 28 Apartments we are always growing and improving, and 2018 has been our most exciting year yet!

The highlight of our year was the opening of the recently renovated  South-West wing of the Palazzo, which is home to our brand new Conference Suite! In September we officially inaugurated it by hosting the international conference on Philosophies in the Mediterranean: Aristotle’s Metaphysics Yesterday and Today. A stunning feature of the conference hall is the display of a wonderful collection of 18th Century French fans.

A part of our Conference Suite is dedicated to the Tomasi di Lampedusa family museum, which displays important family documents and paintings. This includes the portrait of Prince Giulio Fabrizio Tomasi di Lampedusa, the great grandfather of the author and the model for the main character of Il Gattopardo (The Leopard).

This his year, two films were shot in Palazzo Lanza Tomasi! The first was a docu-film about Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s life, starring my husband Gioacchino himself. Our son Giuseppe even played his father Gioacchino as a young man, and it’s no surprise given their striking resemblance!

We recently went to a private screening of the film which is due to be released next year (we will keep you posted!).

The second shoot at the Palazzo was focussed on my ‘Cooking with the Duchess’ cooking classes, for the travelogue docu-series ‘Ray Winstone’s World: Sicily’. The famous British actor Ray Winstone himself came to the Palazzo during one of my classes, and we acted alongside each other; it was very exciting, I’m going to become a film star 😉!

In March, an Italo-Latvian-Viennese conference and workshop about the psychoanalyst Alexandra Wolff Stomersee (wife of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa) was held at the Palermo Academy of Fine Art. Gioacchino gave a keynote speech, and all the participants came to visit our Palazzo, including the vice-chancellor of the Art Academy of Latvia, Kristaps Zariņš, a renowned artist. He painted a beautiful and colourful portrait of Gioacchino in the garden surrounded by flowers and our beloved tortoises!

2018 has been a very important year for the city of Palermo itself, as it had the honour of being chosen as Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2018 and host of the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Manifesta 12. The whole city was bursting with events, installations and exhibitions, especially in our neighbourhood and throughout the whole historic centre. Il Gattopardo played an important role in the events of Manifesta, with Gioacchino appearing in two of the films on show. 

On the 15th September, Pope Francis paid a pastoral visit to Palermoto mark the 25th anniversary of the death of Blessed Pino Puglisi, a priest from Palermo killed after challenging the local Mafia. Around one hundred thousand people from all over Sicily poured into the city for the Pope’s visit, congregating on the Foro Italico (Palermo’s seafront) in front of our Palazzo for the Papal Mass. The sun shone down on us as we enjoyed a breathtaking view of the ceremonies from the balcony of our deluxe Apartment 9, with the Popemobile passing within metres of the Palazzo!

The year 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Il Gattopardo and many commemorative events took place. On the 14th December at the Central Post Office of Palermo, Gioacchino presided over the postmarking ceremony of a beautiful commemorative stamp dedicated to Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The following day he was awarded honorary citizenship of the town of Palma di Montechiaro. He inherited the title of Duke of Palma from the author, his adoptive father, which has been passed down through the generations since the town was founded in 1637 by the Tomasi family.

We prioritise respecting the environment here at our Palazzo, which is why we decided to invest in a new eco-friendly boiler and individual thermostats, along with completing the installation of energy-saving soundproof windows in all of our Butera 28 Apartments. We also enthusiastically joined Palermo’s new citywide recycling and waste disposal initiative, which has daily door-to-door collections.  

A newly renovated apartment was added to our website in 2018! Apartment 20 is cosy, comfortable and flooded with sunlight from via Butera, and is perfect for a couple’s getaway. We really hope that our guests will enjoy it.

On a different note, an exciting event took place at the beginning of September, when eleven adorable baby tortoises were born, adding to the numerous tortoises that roam freely around our terrace garden! Our guests who attended the cooking classes were lucky enough to meet these new little members of the Butera 28 Apartments family 💕

This year also saw the coming and going of more of my lovely British assistants. We said goodbye to Antoine, Kate and Maddie at the start of the year and welcomed Lily, Mei and Dulcie from the University of Bath who took the job in their stride. Shauna, also from Bath, joined us during the summer months and proved to be invaluable help in training the new interns Ffion and Barley from the University of Bristol and Jessica from Cambridge University. It is heartbreaking to have to say goodbye, but we also look forward to welcoming a new group in 2019!

The press page of our website has been enriched with plenty of new articles from 2018, with features in publications such as Forbes and The Telegraph to mention but a few. Gioacchino and I were also featured in a lovely food and travel book called ‘Pasta, Pane, Vino’, written by Matt Goulding. For more information on the articles, simply click here.

We have been fully booked for most of the year and are quickly filling up for 2019, so please get in touch soon to come back and visit us!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

From Nicoletta and everyone at Butera 28 Apartments xxx

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