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This tour is a tale on the Florio family, industrial magnates and protagonists of the Sicilian economy between the 19th and 20th centuries. Following in the steps of four generations of the Florio family, we will look at the impact that they have had on the island, not just from an economic standpoint but from a social, artistic and cultural perspective.

This tour is best to be done on a bicycle (albeit other means of transportation can be used) and stops include some of the most representative places in the history of the family.

We begin with a walk at la Cala, the little harbour in the historical centre of Palermo where the Florio brothers, Paolo and Ignazio, landed with their boat from Bagnara, Calabra, in 1799. We then continue on to via Materassai, in the Vucciria district, where the Florio family started selling pharmaceutical products, quite successfully.

The economic and social standing of Vincenzo, Paolo’s son, rose quickly, as he managed to transform the family company into a huge business with holdings in shipping, banks, tuna fisheries, Marsala wine, sulfur mines and even metallurgy.

After this stop in Vucciria, we cycle (or take a taxi) towards the Massimo and the Politeama theatres.

There, our discussion will cover Ignazio Senior and Ignazio Junior, the National Exposition and the so- called Palermo felicissima of the Belle Epoque, a period when the Florio family joined the international high society and socialized with the most important families of the Sicilian aristocracy, sponsoring the arts and the renewal of Palermo in the Art Nouveau style.

Finally, we head off to Villino Florio to dwell on Ignazio Junior and his wife Franca. A veritable playboy, famous for his love affairs, Franca is a style icon. They are the most envied couple in Italy, they are friends with crowned heads, the elite of finance and industry, artists and poets alike.

Yet at the turn of the century, Ignazio and Franca started to face great economic hardship. National and international competition increased, and the start of World War II brought most of their economic activities to a standstill.

This marked the beginning of the end for the Florio dynasty.

Tour duration: approx. 4 hours

Contact us to book this tour, we will let you know about our availability and answer any questions you may have.

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Itinerary

La Cala harbour

Via Materassai and Vucciria

Massimo theatre

Politeama theatre

Villino Florio

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Trip Includes: Guided walk

Trip Excludes: Transfer to Piazza Politeama and Villino Florio: bike rental (approx €35 per person) or taxi (approx €30 for a party of 4)

If you are a Tour Operator, please contact us for a quote. Per private party of up to 8 people
price: € 300 /Group

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