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Think Experiences in Sicily

In the Leopard's kitchen: culinary and cultural experiences in Sicily

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, renowned author of The Leopard, spent his last years in Palazzo Lanza Tomasi, a splendid mid-18th century palace overlooking the sea from Palermo's old defensive walls.

Now, through The Thinking Traveller, it is possible to enter this magnificent home to spend a day shopping, cooking and dining (or just a private visit and aperitif) with the current owner, the Duchess of Palma, Lampedusa's daughter-in-law.



Cookery class and lunch at the Palazzo

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This is no simple cookery lesson, but a full cultural and culinary experience!

Here's an idea of what you will do!

- a morning shopping trip to the Capo, the oldest and most "Arabic" of Palermo's food markets, and the best place to buy the ingredients for your cookery class later

- walk back to the sea-front Palazzo through Palermo's historic centre

- into the Leopard's kitchen - the true heart of the magnificent Palazzo Lanza Tomasi, where the hands-on cook-fest begins! The Duchess will explain and help you make some delicious Sicilian recipes, many of which have been handed down through generations of her family

- lunch, a delicious 4-course feast made by you(!), served in the elegant dining room

- after lunch, the Duchess will give you a guided tour of the lovingly restored Palazzo, which features much of Lampedusa's personal library, and the luxuriant, perfumed sea-view terrace.

For pricing information, please call us on +44 (0) 203 603 4478 or email



Aperitif and tour of the Palazzo

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Alternatively why not just take a private tour of Palazzo Lanza Tomasi with the Duchess and Duke. Once you've finished your fascinating visit, you can sit down and chat to your hosts over a refreshing aperitif on the fragrant, flower-strewn sea-view terrace.

For pricing information, please call us on +44 (0) 203 603 4478 or email



14th July - Santa Rosalia dinner

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14th July in Palermo is the Festino di Santa Rosalia, a celebration of the city's much loved and venerated patron saint, who is paraded through the old town centre from the Cathedral to the sea. As the procession finishes, the fireworks begin.

One of the best places to enjoy the special atmosphere of the Festino is Palazzo Lanza Tomasi, down on the sea-front in Palermo. Here, we can arrange a wonderful dinner and, via a secret passage through the old town's defensive walls, a privileged peek at Santa Rosalia as she arrives at her final destination.

You will also be in the best possible vantage point from which to admire the stunning firework display that rounds off the evening's events...

For pricing information, please call us on +44 (0) 203 603 4478 or email

Other guests may be present.


Click here to read an article on The Thinking Traveller's cookery experiences in award-winning online food publication, Four Magazine.


Terms and Conditions


Think Experiences are provided by independent local companies which are neither owned not controlled by The Thinking Traveller and for whom we act only as an agent. Whilst every effort is made to keep the description of every Think Experience up to date, the provider may cancel or amend your experience at their discretion for many reasons including where it considers that there may be a risk to your comfort, health or safety. Some excursions/activities (i.e. helicopter rides, excursions on Mount Etna, boat charter, etc.) may contain an element of risk or require a good level of physical fitness, and, if in doubt, you should contact us so we can put you in contact directly with the local provider before deciding to buy. Please also check that you are covered for the activity(ies) in question by your travel insurance policy.


In acting in the capacity of an agent on behalf of the provider, your contract will be with that provider and will be subject to their standard terms and conditions, and it will not form part of your contracted holiday arrangements with us. Any complaint (including any allegation of breach of contract or negligence) should be taken up with the excursion/activity provider directly. We will do our best to assist you, but will have no liability in relation to the performance of that contract.

The Duchess of Palma testing the produce in one of Palermo food markets | Think Sicily

The Duchess busy cooking | Think Sicily

The formal dining room in Palazzo Lanza Tomai | Think Sicily

Leopard strawberry gelo | Think Sicily

In the Leopard's kitchen | Think Sicily

The ballroom at Palazzo Lanza Tomasi in Palermo | Think Sicily

Your host, the Duchess of Palma, choosing fish in the Capo market, Palermo | Think Sicily

The ballroom and library of Palazzo Lanza Tomasi | Think Sicily

The view from the terrace of Palazzo Lanza Tomasi in Palermo | Think Sicily