sicilian style


Ode To Verdi’s Violetta- Palazzo Valguarnera-Gangi (Rooms Of Power)

Palazzo Valguarnera-Gangi is the large ancestral townhouse first of the Princes Valguarnera and then of the Princes Gangi, situated in the Piazza Croce dei Vespri, Palermo, Sicily. The house was constructed in several phases during the 18th century and completed circa 1780.

The palace is designed in the Baroque style, although its ornamentation is of a more severe form than that which is generally accepted as Sicilian Baroque. The tall windows of the piano nobile are decorated with alternating pointed and segmented pediments, while the windows of the lower and upper floors are much smaller, almost cell like, indicating the lower status of the rooms they house. In this way the architecture could be said to be more Renaissance than Baroque.

In 1750 the interior was created in true Sicilian Baroque style by Marianna Valguarnera, with special furniture in the very ornate style being created by local craftsmen. The creation of the house took so long that the Baroque style passed from fashion in favour of the neoclassical style, and it was during this era that the large circular and domed dining room was created with its painted panels in the dome by Giuseppe Velasco.

In 1963 the palazzo, and most memorably its ballroom, were the setting for Luchino Visconti’s film’ Il Gattopardo (The Leopard).

Today, while the famous ballroom may be hired for functions, the remainder of the house remains a private residence.


Nothing says Italian style like Dolce and Gabbana. Over the two decades that the duo have been designing, they have managed to sum up in a button, a blouse, a hair style, a handbag, exactly what it means be an woman. An Italian woman. 

On my trip to Sicily I was obsessed with channeling this look. I wore a grape print gown and was delighted when I saw grapes growing above my head outside of our hotel room. I wore black velvet dresses, white crochet dresses, cross earrings and my hair in a low bun in a centre parting. I saw chillies drying in the sun on someone’s windowsill and remembered the chilli pepper dress I saw in the collection. It was as if I’d finally reached the stage for the costumes that I’d so long admired.

You see, for me, travelling is like reading a magazine. Its a window to another world where you can experience, feel and inhabit another land and another being. And style is a massively important part of that. I love playing dress up and trying (not always so easily) to blend in with the locals. Sicily was like a mecca. I had studied it for so long and my obsession was great. I was ready and it was everything I thought it would be.

Dolce and Gabbana’s advertising campaigns always manage to perfectly encapsulate that Sicilian style. Something a simple as the boxy black bag that all the small stout, old Italian ladies wear is appropriated in the campaigns as a marker for Italian classicism, held here by a little girl.

Family is always so central to these campaigns. They feature a huge cast and play out all the classic scenes of Italian life. They care about kids in Europe in a way that just doesn’t happen in America or England. For them, children really are the fruit of the earth.

I knew I had hit the mark when a sweet old lady came up to us and pinched Romans cheek with foreign words of glee and then she looked and me, raised her hands in that way that old Italian people do and said “Bellissima!”


A Sicilian Story - Fashion Styling by Giulia Mantovani and Giullia Di Nicola

L’ ami ancora, anche se lui non ti ama più, lo vedo perché vivi ancora di fronte alla porta silenziosa del suo cuore aspettando che lui l’apra per farti entrare dentro i suoi sogni, tra le sue braccia ancora calde di letto, bianche come la tua assenza, forti come il tuo desiderio. Un fiore appassisce lentamente, cosi dovresti far morire quel che provi nei tuoi pensieri, far finire cosi l’eternità di quanto sentivi, crearti un’anima nuova, cercare una nuova vita.  Ma tu vaghi nei tuoi silenzi cercando la sua tenerezza perduta, le sue parole ora inaridite, sconvolta per questa improvvisa, straziante fragilità in cui ora vivi, mentre in ogni istante diventa sempre più debole quello che eravate, che avevate, che vi davate, che sognavate, che inventavate che creavate e che in fondo era come vi amavate. Vagherai chiedendo al nulla in cui ti ha lasciato, ai fiori recisi del suo ricordo, all'alba dei tuoi versi perché dovresti amarlo se nel suo cuore il tuo nome è stato cancellato e tutto quello che gli avevi dato è finito nel nulla, insieme alle promesse dimenticate, alle parole mai dette, ai vostri giorni ormai orfani. Le carezze che vi siete scambiati, l’amore che vi siete dati, di tutto questo resta solo il silenzio, l’imbarazzo, il vuoto, l’insostenibile scandalo. Restano solo lacrime nere che ti rigano il volto arido dei suoi baci, lacrime acide che annegano tua anima, vuota dei suoi sorrisi e cieca dei tuoi. Hai donato al tuo amore tutta la tua vita e morendo lui, anche la tua vita non trova più un senso.

You still love him although he does not love you anymore, you are still living in front of the silent door of his heart waiting for him to open it, to let you into his dreams, in his still warm arms, white like your absence, as strong as your desire. A flower suffers slowly and in this way, you should kill what you hear in your thoughts, endure the eternity of what you feel, create a new soul, seek a new life. But you wander in your silences looking for his lost tenderness, his words now horrified, upset by this sudden, frightening fragility in which you are alive now, while at every moment your love becomes weaker than what you were, what you had, what you gave, what you dreamed, invented, created and that was basically how you loved him. You will wander forever asking to the nothing in which he left you, to the fade flowers of his memory, to the dawn of your verses why you should love him if in his heart your name was erased and all you had given him ended up in nothing, along with the forget promises, the words you have never told him, your orphaned days. The caresses you have exchanged, the love you have given, of all this remains only the silence, the embarrassment, the void, the unsustainable scandal. There are only black tears that roar your face dried of his kisses, sour tears that drown your soul, empty of his smiles, blind of yours. You’ve given to your love all your life and once it is dying, even your life finds no sense any more

And lunch! Can’t get enough of these homemade sweet potato fries! These ones are baked in a Sicilian style BBQ seasoning, the seasoning contains Himalayan pink salt, garlic, lemon myrtle, organic black whole pepper, basil, fennel seed and bell pepper! So so yummy!! Obviously paired with my mums homemade chunky tomato sauce ☺️☺️