testimonials and splendour of the past
“Palermo, an inspiration that inebriates and constantly reanimates”
In close contact with the sumptuous nature of the Gulf, the Grand Hotel et Des Palmes, urban hotel of the 19 th century, still recalls its mysterious appeal, an iconic place of the millennial city of Palermo.
There is a symbolic and brilliant story around this majestic house built in the shadow of two big palms, whose name derives from, and its connection with the external urban perspective.
Built to be the private residence of the Ingham – Whitaker family, a famous English family of entrepreneurs who, enchanted by the beauty of the Conca d’Oro, compared Palermo to the mythological Giardino delle Esperidi. A British touch given by the secret path that connected this house to the Anglican Church, a small jewel indissolubly united to this building.
In 1874 Enrico Ragusa, entomologist and hotel owner, bought the Ingham- Whitaker’s house and converted this private residence into a luxurious hotel.
A precious frame of the 19 th century in Sicily where the culture for the Liberty style appears at its best with Ernesto Basile, one of the most important architects in Italy at that time.
The famous and talented architect starts to project important renovations and adds new decorations typical of the Art Nouveau inside the Grand Hotel et Des Palmes, destined to become one of the most important place for the elite of “fin de siècle”.
The optical perspective, the transparent and coloured glass windows, the furnitures and decors, all sketched by Basile, convey a decisive and scenic effect.
In search of inspiration to complete his last opera, Richard Wagner, famous composer and exponent of the European Romanticism, stayed with his wife Cosima Liszt at the Hotel Des Palmes in a suite located on the most silent area, later dedicated to the famous musician.
During the completion of the “Parsifal”, Wagner drew his inspiration from the delicate smell of the flowers of the Hotel and converted that power of desire by creating his last musical drama.