Villa Igiea, a Rocco Forte Hotel located in Palermo, Sicily, will be offering exceptional art experiences for guests this autumn that includes a choice of two art-inspired city walks designed by local artists, an exclusive visit to Palazzo Butera to view the private art collection of Massimo Valsecchi, and the opportunity to view pop-up exhibits by local and international artists in Villa Igiea’s own Palazzina Donna Franca.
The beauty of Palermo comes through in its art, which is the layers upon layers of history built up, with each one leaving its own cultural imprint, even after the changing of reigns.
Designed by local, notable artists, guests can choose from two artist itineraries that lead guests through the winding, lively streets of Palermo to explore the magnificent layers of different cultures that once ruled the region.
The first itinerary is designed by Francesco Domicili, a photographer who was selected to show at the Royal Academy of London last year. He will accompany guests along the streets of his hometown, Bagheria, known for its historic villas from the 1700s and for the Guttoso Museum which is full of important works by Renato Guttoso. The visit continues on towards Ducato, an artisanal workshop displaying the art of traditional, hand-painted Sicilian carts before finishing the tour in Domicili’s atelier.
The second itinerary is designed by Nicola Pucci, a Palermitan painter and author of contemporary artworks, many of which are displayed in the collection of Carlo Bilotti and the Fendi Foundation.
Nicola will take art-loving guests along for a tour of Palermo to discover some of the lesser-known angles and hidden corners of the city which behold incomparable beauty and inspiration.
Among the stops are the famous Oratory of San Lorenzo, a treasure trove of art that contains a rich repertoire of famous stuccos by Giacomo Serpotta, and the Church of Madonna della Mazza, renowned for two exceptional altarpieces by Adrian Ghenie. Nicola will conclude the tour by welcoming guests into his home, which also houses his studio, for lunch prepared using only local produce and wine.
Villa Igiea, a building that is a work of art in itself, who has throughout the years welcomed famous artists through its doors, will be hosting pop-up exhibits by both local and international artists in the communal spaces of the new Palazzina Donna Franca. The first exhibition confirmed will be by native Nicola Pucci, who works largely from photographs, often combining elements from different sources within a single painting. He has exhibited in Italy, the USA, England and France and in 2008, he was invited to hold a solo exhibition at Rome’s Carlo Bilotti Museum, becoming the first living Italian artist to be given a one-man show at this prestigious venue.
The hotel will also host the Literary Caffè Club, an exclusive monthly event with writer Stefania Auci, author of the bestselling Florio books, who will spill secrets about the most influential family to date in Sicily in The Sala Basile, which dons frescoes dating back to the 1900s by Ettore de Maria Bergler.
Beyond the city’s iconic buildings and historic monuments, there are several new initiatives taking place that are reviving cultural events such as an international contemporary art festival centered around the theme of plural identity that debuts on September 23, 2022, and will run through January 22, 2023. The third edition of BM – the Mediterranean Archipelago Biennial will take place across the streets and piazzas of Palermo. Over twenty expositions, performances, and events will unfold in churches, buildings and monuments. BM is the twin festival to the Sète biennial in Los Angeles which boasts a rich calendar of expositions, performances and literary encounters. Among the various collaborations is even a performance by the engraver François Dezeuze. Noted English artist Paul Hurbutt, of international acclaim, will close the event. After a long, established career in the United States, he arrives in Sicily to present his personal NOMAD curated by David Cohen.
A hub of art, Palermo is one of the most varied and diverse cultural cities that offers something for everyone this autumn.