Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1896–1957) was a Sicilian nobleman, the Duke of Palma, and the last Prince of Lampedusa. He was born in Palermo to an aristocratic family whose fortunes began to decline in the 1800s with the passage of laws breaking up large Sicilian estates. Lampedusa served as an Italian artillery officer during World War I and was captured by the Austrians and held briefly in a prison camp in Hungary. He remained in the Italian military until 1921 and spent the interwar years traveling through Europe and attempting to restore the family estate. During World War II , the Tomasi palace in Palermo was bombed and looted by Allied troops. In the last two years of his life, Lampedusa began writing and produced his great historical novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard), as well as several short literary works, none of which were published during his lifetime. Two years after Lampedusa’s death, The Leopard won the Strega Prize and became a worldwide best seller.