Loquis: The spirit of Daphne Phelps relives at Casa Cuseni

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The spirit of Daphne Phelps relives at Casa Cuseni


Published on:  2019-07-24 18:47:00


In 1900 Robert Hawthorn Kitson arrived in Taormina after rheumatic fevers. His personal doctors had advised him to spend a period in places characterized by a Mediterranean climate. Kitson, twenty-seven years old, a good-looking young man, fell so in love with Taormina that he bought 12000 square metres of hilly land, which in a couple of years he transformed into a garden with terraces, rich in exotic plants and rare flowers, and where he built his home. He died in 1947, leaving the house and the garden to his nephew Daphne Phelps. Miss Daphne arrives in Taormina with the intention of selling her uncle's estate and returning to England, to continue her life as a child psychiatrist. In fact, once in Sicily, she decides to take care and live in Casa Cuseni, becoming its guardian for over sixty years. To make ends meet and keep his uncle's legacy at its best, he transformed his house into a guest-house, hosting many great celebrities of the early twentieth century. Casa Cuseni is now owned by the couple Mimma and Franco Spadaro, who have turned it into a museum. Mimma is the daughter of the housekeeper of Daphne, who shared with her the care for the garden and the house. Daphne Margaret Jane Phelps, born on 23 June 1911 and died on November 30, 2005, left a book in her memory, Una casa in Sicilia, which tells the story of this wonderful house.

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