Cooking classes in Palermo, Sicily

A Day Cooking with the Duchess

Sicilian cooking lessons

A Day Cooking with the Duchess is not simply a Sicilian cooking lesson in an extraordinary location

It’s an inspirational and rewarding experience in a fabulous 18th century Palazzo by the sea, the last home of Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of the world-famous novel The Leopard. 

What better surroundings to begin a captivating journey into the wondrous world of Sicilian culture and food? The Duchess of Palma will accompany you in the morning to the colourful Il Capo market to find only the freshest ingredients of the season, and will illuminate some of the myriad hidden treasures of exotic Palermo, one of the most intriguing cities of the Mediterranean. At the market you will see and smell the array of wonderful freshly caught fish, the just picked fruit and vegetables, the vibrant colours of the famous Sicilian citrus, the spices and the wood-oven baked bread topped with sesame seeds.

Back at the Palazzo, you will be taken to the organic gardens on the luscious terrace to pick fresh herbs, flowers and lemons that will enhance both the flavours and the uniqueness of your dishes. Then, in the welcoming kitchen, you will create a mouthwatering Sicilian menu under the Duchess’s expert guidance. Afterwards you will enjoy the fruits of your labour in the comfort of the Palazzo’s elegant dining room. White-gloved waiters will serve you the delicious Sicilian dishes you have created.

To end the day in style you will be taken on a fascinating tour of this truly magnificent, lovingly restored Palazzo, where you will have the rare privilege of seeing the original handwritten manuscript of the Prince’s enduring masterpiece, The Leopard.

Awesome class and setting! Highly recommend adding Palermo and Butera 28 to your Sicilian trip itinerary! Was there in October… superb!


Cchand via IG

The pleasure of spending yesterday together and all it brought was a delight. We will forever remember moment of our arrival, going to market, walking through your garden, learning new cooking skills, creating cuisine together and being seated at a lovely table to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Thank you for sharing yourself, your talents, your life and your home with us.


Kimberly D. and LouAnn P.

A setting worthy of your wonderful food!


Nicole B.

Le panelle più buone le prepari tu


Maria Stella W.

Your mezzaluna changed my life… in a good way!


Sylvia L.

I absolutely loved my day with the Duchess!


Martina M.

This is one of the best secrets in Palermo – literature, culture, cooking and elegance.


Jacquie M.

I got to see the sweet creatures, the tortoises, and had the most wonderful cooking class with the amazing Duchess… not to mention the lunch in the most beautiful dining room ever! The best experience in Palermo ♥



The absolute best part of our trip to Palermo. What an incredible experience. Thank you!


Michael M.

Best day in our last trip to Italy! Sicilia has everything lovely and the food in my personal opinion is one of the best in the world, and if you have the opportunity to spend one day cooking with the duchess you gonna be happy forever !!! Thanks Nicoletta to show us the mercato and the vendors, was awesome ! Also thanks to the whole crew in the palazzo Tomasi and thanks to the lovely city of Palermo !!!


Marcelo C.

Our class was equally as wonderful. We enjoyed meeting you, and the people in the class. I think we prepared a beautiful dinner under your tutelage.


Cami R.

I am happy to highly recommend this, a day of cooking with the Duchess in Palermo! Nicoletta Polo of Butera 28 Apartments is absolutely ENCHANTING! She’s well-educated, charming and sly as a fox… her heart is true and she is willing to impart her knowledge and passion for sicilian food and share the history of the Palazzo Lanzo Tomassi and it’s illustrious family ties. If you are going to Palermo, you must prioritize this and a few other amazing experiences.


Brandi B.

The entire experience — staying in one of the apartments in the Palazzo Lanza Tomasi, taking the class, and seeing the private rooms of the apartment and the original manuscript of The Leopard — is on my short list of the most memorable of my life.


Barrie K.

Thank you for the history of your family and the Palazzo and the food, as you saw, was immensely enjoyed by all. We all loved it and would do it again.


Carmen W.

Last month my daughter and I took a cooking class with you through our trip with C.C. I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful, special day that was. My daughter and I speak of you often with great fondness. It truly was a day we’ll never forget. Thank you for sharing your cooking and your home with us. I hope one day to return.


Valerie L.

Thank you, Nicoletta, for all your wonderful recipes. There is one that my husband and I enjoy the most: caserecce with sun-dried tomatoes, almond and pistachio pesto. With his home made pasta, this recipe is our special treat that we learned from you. We remember your classes and can’t wait to come back.


Rosanna E.

You taught me to use a mezzaluna and now it’s my best friend.


Sylvia L.

We all learned some new cooking techniques, and the delicious three-course meal afterwards lived up to the expectations aroused by the superb aromas arising during the preparation.


Beverley S.

Tuesday was a truly memorable day. I cannot thank you, your husband and your team enough for all you did to make it so. It was a unique experience and one to be treasured. Every moment was precious from the moment when we first entered your beautiful home to the sad moment when you waved us goodbye as your kind driver carried us away to our hotel and flight back to London.  You could not have been more hospitable. You could not have been more fun. You enriched us with all kinds of information, culinary, literary and historic. The lunch around your beautiful table, looking out to a sunlit sea, was fantastic.


Sir John C.

Thanks so much for a lovely day! The food was excellent and so fun to make together. The menu was perfect! Thanks so much for your class you’ll always have a special place in our families heart.


Lisa V.

Casa Lanza Tomasi si affianca ad una ormai diffusa tradizione di ospitalità raffinata di stampo internazionale. Ma c’è qualcosa in più: una cucina ricercata che non cede mai agli effetti speciali, un modo di accogliere cortese e sincero, e un odor di cultura che non si dimentica più.


Salvatore S.

Une journée inoubliable. Un grand merci pour ce cours de cuisine magistral.


Martin B.

I just wanted to send you a note to thank you so much for the cookery course that I attended a couple of weeks ago, Everything from the shopping to the eating via the cooking itself was a lot of fun and such a unique experience. Loads of luck with your business going forward.


Katy R.

Thank you for a wonderful experience both culinary and cultural. Such fantastic memories to have.


Sally W.

Un día inolvidable: la clase de cocina, el paseo por el mercado, el almuerzo, el jardín, todo sensacional!! Muchísimas gracias!


Marina U.

Thank you so much for opening your home to us and for both your historical account of the family and the palazzo, and for your crash master class in Sicilian cooking, including the market visit and herb forage in your exquisite terrace garden. I had no idea I would find my much loved frangipani in this part of the world! The whole day was a uniquely wonderful experience which I shall never forget.


Mary O.

Thanks so much for a lovely day yesterday! We are all still thinking of the beautiful cooking time together… and your awesome cooking tips! The water over the onions will become part of our regular cooking habits!


Lisa V.

Ciao Nicoletta
I just wanted to thank you for my glorious introduction to both Palermo and Sicilian cooking. Thank you too for providing the baking powder for a birthday cake!
Wishing you all the best for the future.


Alison M.

Thanks so much for the cookery class and tour yesterday! We both had a lovely time and could only fit in a very small dinner later on!


Ben and Ceri M.

Ciao Nicoletta,
I would like to Thank you for a truly ‘divine’ day yesterday. Our group absolutely LOVED the entire time with you and this morning thanked me again for taking them to the ‘Duchess’. It was special indeed and I personally felt the care and love you put into everything you did (and do).
I’ll never forget the melone dessert and will try to make it for my mom and aunts when I return home.
I look forward to seeing you again as we’d like to return more often to Sicily.



Thank you so much for one of our best days in Palermo! That was so much fun and you were so warm and welcoming. Thank you! I can’t wait and try to replicate our meal. I think I’m going to need to fly there to go to the market and get my ingredients though. It’s not the same here in the States


Kris S.

Dear Nicoletta,
We just wanted to thank you again for your kind hospitality, both for the apartment and the lovely lunch and tour of your home on Monday. It was so unique for us to be so close to a great literary legacy in such a natural and relaxed atmosphere. You and your husband made all of that possible for us. We will surely be back in the next months as this was only our first visit to Palermo.
25 /11/2018

Thaddeus B.

Ciao Nicoletta,
Thank you again for a wonderful day yesterday. We really enjoyed the
entire experience – from the market, to the cooking, to the lunch, the
conversations with you and your husband and the rest of the guests, and
the tour!

19 agosto 2018

Lia A.

La de aver fue una jornada inmejorable. Te has ganado tres corazones.

19 agosto 2018

José Luis

Very belated thankyous for having us stay in your beautiful palace (from
11 th April) and
for the cooking course and my subsequent ‘birthday’ lunch. We enjoyed it
all so much. I still picture that lovely dish of those synchronised
sardines with their little tails turned up swimming among the waves of
Sicilian oranges….so delicious!
The opportunity to see the manuscript of The Leopard, your family’s art
collection and library was very special. You and Gioacchino were so
generous to share it with us along with your wonderful fund of stories.

6 giugno 2018

Janne M.G.

Thank you very much for making our cooking class yesterday the highlight
of our visit to Sicily. Your good humor, charm, and cooking skill made
the day a terrific one. My girls and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with
you, your husband, and your other guests.
Thank you so much for a fantastic experience and fast friendship. We
belong to you!
Grazie mille

5 giugno 2018

Mike H.

Dear Nicoletta….
What a fantastic way to end my visit to Sicily and what a perfect day
from start to finish. Your Cooking with the Duchess should be a must
for anyone visiting Palermo, because it’s much more than the food
experience. It was a grand way to learn more about the history and the
culture of this fine city, and a great way to meet such interesting
people from all over the world. The “icing on the cake” as we would say
in the states, was the wonderful food that we had a hand in preparing
and thoroughly enjoyed around your magnificent and splendid dining room.

7 luglio 2018

Donna D.

I’d like to thank you for such a wonderful time cooking and listening to
your stories. My family and I had a great and memorable time!

15 febbraio 2018

Carian C.

Thank you so much for a splendid and unforgettable day “Cooking with the
Duchess!!” The meal was superb, and it was an absolute treat to spend
time with you and Gioacchino in Palazzo Lanza Tomasi.

5 maggio 2018

Susan M.

Dear Nicoletta, Thank you for the glorious apt 12 accommodation and the
cooking class. What a great group of people and we all got along so
well! It was a rare gathering of good people enjoying the activities of
the day which you created for us.

29 maggio 2018

Valerie R.

Bonjour Madame
Mon épouse et moi même tenons à vous remercier pour la merveilleuse
journée que nous avons passé à vos côtés.
Tout à été parfaitement réussi, le marché, la cuisine, le repas, votre
gentillesse et l excellente ambiance avec les autres convives.
Encore une fois un grand merci à vous et votre équipe.
Très cordialement

7 aprile 2018

Eliane et Philippe B.

Dear Nicoletta, it was a great pleasure to meet you as well as see your
beautiful house. I can only imagine how much work an dedication and
energy you must have to keep it going and to keep it so nice. Thank you
one more time for a class, I will definitely use what I learned. Already
had a nice breakfast with fresh produce and bread from il Capo.

7 aprile 2018

Brigita B.

I learnt a lot from your class, and really like how you run it. I think
people appreciate so much when they are allowed to really get involved
in the kitchen, and are not just given a glass of wine and made to

12 aprile 2018

Alice A.

Yesterday was such a lovely day for all of us, learning more about the history and people of Sicily.  For me, the trip to the market with your special vendors, the introduction to some new cooking techniques and recipes, but most of all the chance to learn about the house in which we are living and the people who own it made this day one of the most memorable of my travels.  Nicoletta, you are amazingly well organized! You led us seemingly effortlessly through all the complicated steps of preparing fresh ingredients. If only I had these available in Fairbanks, Alaska.  You were able to assemble such an interesting group of students, conversing with them was like icing on the cake (or jasmine petals on the dessert).

June 23th 2017

Mimi C.

My wife Lynne and I truly enjoyed the time spent with you. We had a wonderful group that day and soo enjoyed it. Grazie Mille!!!!

June 8th 2017

Robert S.

I just want to say thanks for a truly extraordinary experience.
We all loved the class and the meal, but more than simply enjoying it, we were rather in awe by the presentation and the quality of the entire event. The way you handled all of us in the kitchen and made the experience fun as well as instructional was admirable, and the meal was one of those once in a lifetime experiences. I mean, sincerely, how many of us Americans have the chance to dine with a duke and duchess in the formal dining room of a palace attended by gloved footmen? Your stories were rich and colorful, and you are a most gracious hostess. Plus, the meal was delicious.
Well, before my superlatives begin sounding trite, let me close by saying it was all brilliant.

June 6th 2017

Stephen B.

We are still enjoying the memories of our excellent vacation in Sicilia, and especially, the very nice day we spent at your place. Not only the cooking class, but also learning about the story and importance of your family, and visiting your amazing residence was great. And, needless to say, how much we appreciated your and Gioacchino’s friendliness and hospitality. Honestly, we feel as having left good friends in Palermo.

June 6th 2017

Miguel A.

We truly enjoyed the cooking session last Thursday, which was a wonderful moment of generosity and exciting transmission of cultural heritage. The experience will always be an important movement in the symphony of our travels.

April 28th 2017

Catherine and Fredrik R.

Just wanted to say thanks for the lovely day. We thoroughly enjoyed the cooking class and the great insights and conversations about Sicilian culture and your family history.

Look forward to trying the recipes at home.

April 26th 2017

Vicky B.

Your enthusiasm, encouragement and wonderful humour only added to this wonderful day. It’s just a shame the day had to go so fast. We loved every minute of it.

April 19th 2017

Richard M.

As we reminisce about our travels, we keep returning to Palermo and Butera 28 and,
particularly, a final day that was filled with cooking and a sumptuous feast and conversation and laughter.

April 17th 2017

James P.

Colette and I couldn’t have chosen a better place to stay than Butera 28 Apartments. We had a wonderful time in Palermo and your cookery class was the perfect conclusion to a memorable holiday.

April 20th 2017

John M.

I want to thank you for sharing your home and expertise with our group on Monday.  It was a real privilege to meet you and Gioacchino and to learn about (and see!) your family history.  But, of course, I especially enjoyed cooking with you.  Everything was delicious and I hope to try several of the dishes when I’m back home in Connecticut.  The day was the highlight of my visit to Palermo.

April 7th 2017

Patricia T.

I wanted to write a note and let you know how much Roxane and I enjoyed your class.  Since your class, we have prepared several dishes after shopping at the markets.

Do you have any classes available next week?

April 7th 2017

Paul T.

Palazzo Lanza Tomasi srl
Via Butera, 28 - 90133 - Palermo - Italy

+39 333 3165432
+39 366 4143887

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