This beautiful and fascinating book is about the eccentric, high living, cultivated and mostly idle Sicilian nobility that was immortalized by Guiseppe di Lampedusa in his best selling book "The Leopard". Old photographs, period documents, especially photographed grand palaces, landscapes, the accoutrements of daily life- jewels, dresses, tableware, succulent food-all contribute towards a vivid visualization of the world Lampedusa came from and wrote about. Until the end of the 18th century, the Sicilian nobility conserved the ownership or at least the sovereignty over their entire island paradise. They spent their large incomes on making a bella figure at the Bourbon court in Palermo, in receiving their peers in the most lavish style possible in gambling, womanizing, attending the opera, promenading in elegant carriages, and maintaining not only grand palaces in town, but equally extravagant and formal villas in the countryside. Theirs was also a world of elaborate religious processions, marriages and funerals, glittering parties and balls until well into the 20th century, when the ratio of servants to population was the same as in Louis XIV's France. But finally war, revolution and idleness brought the Leopards to extinction. Everybody who loves Italy, Sicily, Lampedusa and decadence will be enchanted by this wonderful book.