“If we want everything to remain as it is, everything must change.”— G.T. Di Lampedusa, Il Gattopardo
With these words, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s “The Leopard” announced a paradox of modern Italian history, as elites frenetically cut deals to protect their privileged status on the eve of national unification in 1861.
Since 1999 we take care of meticulously and elegantly Osteria dei Vespri, the historic restaurant in the heart of the Kalsa button to Piazza Croce dei Vespri in Palermo. The restaurant is guarded and set like a precious stone within the majestic walls of the eighteenth century Palazzo Valguarnera-Gangi. The prestigious building is also famous for having created the memorable dance sequence of the film “The Leopard” by Luchino Visconti (1963), inspired the book by G. Tomasi di Lampedusa.
The current owners of the building are Giuseppe and Carine Vanni Calvello di San Vincenzo, since more than twenty years do not spare resources and energy to maintain unchanged its beauty through targeted restoration campaigns. In addition, in front of the palace, is Palazzo Bonet, seat of the Civic Gallery of Modern Art, which is the square, a place crossed daily by patrons and tourists.
The magic that attracts them, often by pure chance, causes them to stop and observe the wonder of Palazzo Gangi, still intact, sober in its external forms and breathtaking in its interiors.
The Piazza Croce dei Vespri, which is located between the Via Sant’Anna, the Valguarnera alley and the Piazza Aragona, was once known as “floor of Sant’Anna little mercy” to distinguish it from today’s Piazza Sant’Anna which is larger and bore the same name. It is said that here were buried much of the French massacred by the people during the fury of the Sicilian Vespers of 1282.
And it is precisely in memory of these events that in 1737, in the center of the square, a marble column was placed with an iron cross on top, which years later was decentralized, since it prevented an easy passage to the large carriages that went in the adjacent Valguarnera palace. The Rizzo brothers no coincidence that they chose this magical place, full of history, which carry more than 20 years their vision of the world and the future, through their kitchen, constantly evolving and changing.
In the kitchen of “The Leopard”, where you renew the best traditions of conviviality.