Conference Suite and Tomasi Di Lampedusa Museum
From the grand marble staircase of Palazzo Lanza Tomasi you enter the South-West wing, which is home to the Conference Suite and the Tomasi di Lampedusa Family Museum. Adorned with restored frescoed ceilings, white marble floors and rooms flooded with light, this is the perfect venue for hosting a conference or a cultural event. The Suite is fully equipped with Wi-Fi, video projectors, screens and sound systems and can seat up to 70 people. Refreshments and coffee breaks are available on request, and an international team of language graduates is on hand to welcome and assist our guests. In the elegant adjoining reception rooms of the piano nobile, we are also able to host cocktail parties, luncheons and dinners with the option of live music for up to 150 guests, allowing them to enjoy the historical atmosphere of the Palazzo. The Duchess personally oversees the design and preparation of the menus, which offer refined Sicilian cuisine with a unique twist.
The Conference Suite itself consists of three rooms with accompanying facilities. The central hall has a stunning frescoed ceiling dating from the end of 19th century, which depicts scenes of a harem in typical Orientalist style, and is surrounded by an impressive family collection of Louis XVI French fans. When looking through the glass-cased fan collection of the main conference room, past the Historical Library and the Ballroom, the view stretches out over the verdant foliage of the waterfront to the sea.
On one side of the central hall we have the Mediterranean Map Room, which features a beautiful collection of British nautical charts from 1870 which used to belong to Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi’s grandfather’s yacht Louise, as well as another frescoed ceiling.
On the opposite side, there is the Tomasi di Lampedusa Family Museum with portraits of the author’s ancestors and noteworthy historical family documents and objects. Here one can admire the famous portrait of Prince Giulio Fabrizio Tomasi di Lampedusa, the author’s great-grandfather, an amateur astronomer and the model for the main character in Il Gattopardo. Also on display below the portrait is an original 1790 British telescope; the exact model from the same manufacturer can be found in the Palermo Astronomical Observatory in the Royal Palace.
A historically significant parchment document, dated 1638 and signed by King Philip III of Sicily (IV of Spain) giving the title of Princes of Lampedusa and the feudal ownership of the island to the Tomasi family, can be seen hanging on one side of the wall.
Below this, there is a cabinet which contains the catalogues of the historical library of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, recorded in the hand of the author himself: an index book pre-dating the Second World War, and a later tabbed catalogue which was created after the move to the Palazzo at 28, Via Butera.
On the opposite wall hang the portraits of members of the Tasca Mastrogiovanni Filangeri di Cutò family, ancestors of the author’s mother. Two glass display cases contain books and documents related to the 17th century ‘family saints’, Saint Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and his sister the Venerable Suor Maria Crocifissa. Also of great interest is an illuminated manuscript from 1654 which granted Duke Giulio Tomasi honorary citizenship of Messina.