In an enchanted place like this, at first it could only be a fairy tale. The wonderful epic of elite tourism, in the heart of Iblashire, with verdant golf courses attracting enthusiasts and the rich from all over the world, giving jobs and life prospects to 200 people. This is the tale of the Donnafugata Resort, the five-star hotel that embodied the narrative of Sicily that pleases people who like it, of golf as a tourist flywheel, of economic development and employment compatible with environmental protection. And many other nonsense.
Donnafugata Resort, history
Because today of the beautiful fairy tale, after the abrupt transformation into an intricate series (populated by dwarves, dancers and fixers who wallow in a sea of money, many of which public, with phantom foreign funds in the background), there remains only a film of the ‘horror. Whose protagonist, who is also the victim of this story, is a peaceful sixty-one year old from Palermo of blue blood. Here – in the immense slide towards the sea of the Randello reserve, among hay bales and archaeological treasures peeping out of decaying decay – they say that “the nobleman has gone mad”. But Orazio Arezzo, great-grandson of the marquis of the same name who in 1800 financed the excavations of the legendary Paolo Orsi, discoverer of the Kamarina site, is only a citizen who has decided to assert his reasons. Slamming against rubber walls too often, if we really don’t want to call them cheerful distractions (or even worse connivance) of many buildings. Which hide unconfessable complicity, even managing to make voluminous folders with paperwork disappear on which more than one occult protagonist has left some fingerprints. “I want to go all the way, I won’t stop until I have justice,” he says at the entrance to his fiefdom. Yes, because he, together with his sister Maria Felice, is the owner of this hellish paradise. About 250 hectares of unspoiled land, an agricultural village with a sixteenth-century tower and a priceless historic garden. The Arezzo families rent and partly (about 5 hectares) sell to “Donnafugata Resort Srl”.
We are in 2003 and in the Piombo district we daydream. On the pitch is Nh Hotels, a famous Spanish hotel chain, which collects 19.4 million of Invitalia public funds to invest in the five-star hotel: 170 rooms and 40 suites, wellness center, two swimming pools, six tennis courts , an equestrian center, a convention and banquet center for a thousand seats. But the added value is golf: two 18-hole courses, a 9-hole executive and a practice one. With two prestigious brands such as Gary Player and Franco Piras, world-famous designers, to give that touch of arch-glamor that the globalized Vpponi so much like. In the background, together with the Spaniards of Nh, many big names in business and finance, as well as companies close to politicians. There is Proger, a company owned by the family of real estate developer Massimo Caputi, former president of Sviluppo Italia, but also a consortium of entrepreneurs including the name of the publisher Paolo Panerai, who will then open a dispute to get rid of his share. Dream comes true. The resort opens and is a great beauty. Who gives bread to about 200 Iblean families, between direct employees and induced workers. But the good game (of golf and not only) does not last long. After a while, the Spaniards of Nh flee, selling the structure, at the price of one euro, but with 23 million in debts with the banks, to an English company, “Armonia Limited Srl”.