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ILTM Cannes Review

Rocco Forte expands its Sicilian portfolio
January 2020 1051

ROCCO Forte Hotels will open Villa Igiea, the historical Art Nouveau palazzo overlooking the Gulf of Palermo, this summer.

Originally built to be a private villa, the influential Florio family commissioned Italian Art Nouveau architect Ernesto Basile to restore the property and turn it into a luxury hotel. Once considered the most famous retreat in Sicily, Villa Igiea has been a symbol of elegance and hospitality that has seen artists, Hollywood elite and royalty pass through its doors.

Constructed in 1900 at the height of the Belle Époque, a period of economic prosperity dating from the end of the Franco-Prussian War to the start of World War I, the hotel is reminiscent of a magnificent castle overlooking the sea. Director of design for Rocco Forte Hotels, Olga Polizzi, in collaboration with one of the most prominent names in the design world, Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam, will oversee the meticulous restoration to preserve its exquisite historical features while keeping with Rocco Forte’s signature design style. The renowned Basile room, the frescoed bar and the grand mirrored ballroom will be restored to its natural beauty while the 104 rooms and suites will be designed to reflect a Sicilian oasis that is contemporary and classic.

Commenting on the opening of Villa Igiea, Sir Rocco said: “It is an honour to be able to undertake the project of restoring Villa Igiea back to its natural glory. It is an iconic hotel with the Florio family at its origin, and I am delighted that my family will now have its place in the building’s marvellous history. Our guests can discover the best of Sicily by experiencing Palermo, a wonderful city which is in a moment of extraordinary rebirth, and then travel to Verdura Resort for complete relaxation.”

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