Studio apartment in a baroque palazzo, Palermo

Living and working in a stimulating environment

The studio in the most beautiful part of Palermo’s historic town centre is tailored to the needs of creative people. Artists, architects, designers, writers … can live and work here alone, in twos or in a small team for one or a couple of weeks.

The baroque Palazzo San Gabriele is on Via Alloro. The narrow street begins at Piazza Sant’ Anna and ends at the waterfront. The street is named for the laurel tree (alloro) that once stood in the inner courtyard of the Palazzo San Gabriele. In the immediate surroundings of the house are the city’s oldest aristocratic residences and a few of its most important museums: the Regional Museum in the Palazzo Abatellis, the Galleria d’ Arte Moderna and the Palazzo Butera, which houses one of the largest private art collections in Italy (Fondazione Valsecchi). In the neighbourhood there are numerous bars, cafés and restaurants where one can find everything from a low-priced light lunch to an upmarket fixed menu. Those who prefer to do their own cooking will find fresh fruit and vegetables and freshly caught fish at the city’s daily street markets.

To this day, an infrastructure of craft workshops and small shops that is unique in Europe has been preserved in the old town of Palermo: Here there are still milliners, doll makers, tailors, ropemakers and workshops for processing metal, wood and leather. Many palazzos were painstakingly rebuilt after the bomb raids of World War II, others are currently being restored; many, however, are still uninhabited or derelict.

The Staircase of Palazzo San Gabriele. The studio on the third floor with its long balcony.

The studio

The baroque Palazzo San Gabriele was completely renovated a few years ago. The size of the well-lit third-floor studio apartment, which includes a walkable gallery, is roughly 150 square metres. It has a 7-metre-high studio with an open balcony, an over 5-metre-high dining room with an open kitchen, two bedrooms and two small bathrooms. There are balconies in front of all the windows, and the apartment receives sunlight all day long. What is unusual in a densely built-up old town is the unspoilt view from the front windows. While renovating the rooms great importance was attached to carefully crafted details and high-quality materials. The minimalist furnishings address practical needs rather than models of »upscale living«. Thanks to the floor heating system the apartment is comfortable even in the cooler winter months.

View from the dining room balcony

150 sq m total area
Large studio
Open gallery with a workplace and a daybed (80/160 cm)
2 bedrooms with double beds (160 cm)
2 bathrooms with showers
Dining room with well-equipped kitchen
All around balconies
Washing machine
Floor heating system
Fast internet (fibre optic)
Workstation with Mac Mini, 27-inch monitor and B&W Laserprinter
No television, not accessible (3rd floor, no elevator)

  • Studio: a staircase goes up to the gallery.
View of the city from Monte Pellegrino

The city

Every one of us can probably name cities that have an irresistible appeal for us: Paris, Marrakesh, Shanghai. Often they promise our imagination more than can be fulfilled by reality. In the case of Palermo I had the opposite experience: The things I had associated with this city for a long time were rather disturbing. A number of years ago, during a trip to the Aeolian Islands, I once had to spend the night in Palermo because it was not possible to reach the ship on the same day. Unavoidably I spent half a day there. At the end of my short stay I was completely enraptured by this city. I wandered through the labyrinthine old town and its markets, discovered lanes where only saucepans were manufactured or milliners still plied their craft: a glimpse of ways of life and economic forms that have long since disappeared in northern Europe. Years later I was given the opportunity to teach at the Palermo Academy of Art and to become better acquainted with the city. Since then I have returned again and again, and every time I discover something new in this fascinating place (more on this in my book Palermo. Lavori in corso, photographs and texts in German, Italian, English. Berlin 2017, Hatje Cantz). 

In 2018 I had the opportunity to fulfil a long-cherished dream. Available for sale on the third floor of the Palazzo San Gabriele were rooms that had been empty for years. While they were in an imaginably poor condition, they were ideally suited to what I had in mind. In close collaboration with the architects Dörthe Weigelt of Belli Meese architects, Berlin ( and Claudia La Franca (Palermo) and a committed team of local craftsmen we managed, in a little more than half a year, to create generously sized rooms for living and working. 

For several months of the year I use my studio myself; the rest of the time I rent the rooms to people who, like me, are looking for a place where they can come up with new ideas – and embark on a longer stay. The minimal rental period is one week.

Stefan Koppelkamm,

The Giardino dei Giusti during Manifesta 12, 2018


The studio is available for rent by the week (Sunday to Sunday).
Arrival: Sunday after 4 pm
Departure: Sunday before 11 am.

Rate for the first week
2 persons 7 x 170 = 1.190 Euro
4 persons 7 x 250 = 1.750 Euro

Rate for the second week
2 persons: 7 x 130 = 910 Euro
4 persons: 7 x 200 = 1.400 Euro

Rate from the third week onwards
2 persons: 7 x 120 = 840,00 Euro
4 persons: 7 x 180 = 1.260 Euro

The rental price includes bed linen, towels, electricity, water charges and Wifi.
Coffee, tea, olive oil etc. are at your disposal when you arrive. Heating costs based on actual consumption.
Final cleaning: 75 Euro | Weekly cleaning for extended stays: 50 Euro