Season’s Greetings from Butera 28 Apartments
My dearest guests and visitors from the years gone by,
Well I didn’t realise I would be doing this so soon, again! This year has really flown by! I can’t believe it’s time to write another Christmas newsletter already, but I suppose that’s a good thing – it means I’ve been busy. And I really have been…
Following the complete halt of the travel and tourism industry in 2020, being busy was all I had been hoping for! The start of this year was slow… I had really been wishing that the New Year would bring a renewed sense of life to Butera 28 Apartments, especially considering that Italy was voted number 1 as The Best Country In The World in the Readers’ Choice Awards 2020 (despite the pandemic).
Alas, lockdowns continued, but I still managed to welcome guests into my palazzo – albeit from a distance and through a screen! I hosted a Zoom call event with Mio Modern Italian from my 18th century palazzo home here in Palermo, Sicily, discussing all things Sicilian culture, literature, history and aristocratic heritage, as our palazzo was the last home of Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, my husband’s
cousin and adoptive father and the author of the world-famous novel Il Gattopardo
It was time to get to work – to start marketing, in order to try draw tourists back to us! Towards the end of February, our palazzo was included in Germany’s award-winning Salon Magazine , written by the wonderful Anne Petersen and photographed by Benne Ochs. In the same month, we were very fortunate to also be featured in another beautifully written article by the talented Rosa Guttilla for Balarm.it
We also kept ourselves occupied during this time by renovating our family palazzo. We installed some beautiful ancient tiles, framed together in groups of 4, all around the courtyard and the staircase.
We checked all of the apartments to fix various problems here and there as well, to ensure that they were all the highest quality for the next guests for when they could all return. We have been working hard on making Butera 28 as plastic free
as possible, getting rid of plastic kitchenware and any plastic in the bathroom during this time as well, to ensure we can all reap the rewards of a brighter future
checked all of the apartments to fix various problems here and there as well, to ensure that they were all the highest quality for the next guests for when they could all return. We have been working hard on making Butera 28 as plastic free
as possible, getting rid of plastic kitchenware and any plastic in the bathroom during this time as well, to ensure we can all reap the rewards of a brighter future…
And brighter days did come in April! With the publication of the Grand Dishes Project, written by journalist Anastasia Miari and creative director Iska Lupton. Grand Dishes is a fantastic cookbook, with a segment in there by yours truly! I share my delicious watermelon pudding infused with jasmine recipe – which you can learn with me personally, during A Day Cooking with the Duchess (if of course, it’s watermelon season when you come to visit)!
Being involved in this journey also inspired me to continue on with my own cookbook project, something I have been working on for years – but we are finally well underway with now. I strategically employed all of the time when the palazzo was without guests to hire in my most beloved photographer, Paolo Araldi, while I worked with my editor to perfect the wording of my recipes.
In May, we were still doing our best to stay active online, with our Palazzo Lanza Tomasi being included in the Final Round of the European Historic Houses Facebook Live Visits 2021. Then one week later, we were finally able to host a REAL life event in our home, la Giornata Nazionale dell’Associazione Dimore Storiche Italiane. This event comprised of numerous, free guided tours of our Palazzo Lanza Tomasi – it was just so special to share this place with others again.
By this stage, most European countries had reopened up to travel abroad, while other European countries all allowed movement again and many restrictions were loosened. We were thrilled to see it and couldn’t wait for tourists to return here once again, especially considering that Palermo was announced as the Nomad List’s top 10 cities to work from in Italy. So, if you’re still working from home or if this year, you’ve started your own
entrepreneurial or freelance journey as many have, now you know where you will be welcomed with high, reliable wifi speeds and affordable apartments!
June was just music to our ears for two more reasons. We were very proud to host a spectacular, recorded concert, by our own Palermo-born pianist Maestro Danilo Manto in the ballroom of our palazzo.
Danilo Manto, fantastically playing the piano with such enthusiasm and talent,
live here in our family palazzo museum in June earlier this year!
And on June 22nd, I was ecstatic to host the very first Day Cooking With The Duchess of 2021! This really highlights what a slow start to the year of business we had…
Since July, the year has been a whirlwind of check-ins and check outs, cooking classes, evening events, grand lunches, personally guided palazzo and garden and market tours – sharing my deepest passion for Palermo, Sicily’s history, culture and cuisine with my glorious guests. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, regarding business, but I have never appreciated being busy more than I do now.
This year, despite the slow start, we had some very big wins! We are very pleased to announce that our palazzo has become part of the Associazione Nazionale Case della Memoria as of 17th December 2021! We have also been accredited and certified by Dream & Charme S.R.L. We received the official International Certification for our apartments, and the palazzo was awarded a 5 star certification too!
Despite the masks, the world we used to know has somewhat returned to us. Butera 28 Apartments is fully booked over Christmas and New Years and I simply cannot tell you what this means to me… If we compare this to the worry the entire tourism industry experienced last year, it’s just such a huge relief that Butera 28 Apartments and A Day Cooking with the Duchess were able to survive as businesses, as many others weren’t so fortunate. For that, I am so grateful to all of my past, current and future guests. Thank you for being part of the journey.
As the year draws to an end, in spite of the news of Omicron, we are still hoping for a brighter future… The festive season brings more joy than usual, with the promise of time to relax, to enjoy fantastic food and maybe even indulge in a winter holiday with some Sicilian sunshine!
Sending all of my warmest wishes and positive energy,