An eccentric billionaire who splashed out more than £300,000 to hire an Italian city for his 73rd birthday has welcomed guests to his party.
Kaoru Nakajima has taken over several luxury hotels to accommodate 1,400 guests and secured the use of two top theatres.
They have been flown halfway around the world by Mr Nakajima for the event which had been scheduled for his 70th birthday but was postponed by the Covid pandemic.
On Sunday ticket holders in dinner jackets and evening gowns were welcomed at the Teatro Massimo in the centre of Palermo for a concert.
The venue – the largest in Italy and the third biggest in Europe – is renowned for its perfect acoustics and sits guests in seven tiers of boxes.
Kaoru Nakajima has taken over several luxury hotels to accommodate 1,400 guests and secured the use of two top theatres
A couple of guests pose as they arrive at the Teatro Massimo theatre in Palermo, Sicily for the continuing birthday celebrations of Japanese billionaire Karol Nakajima
It was also the scene for the ending of The Godfather Part 3, where Mafia boss Michael Corleone’s daughter is shot dead by a hitman on the stone steps.
Guests to Mr Nakajima’s party were treated to a performance by the Sicilian Symphony orchestra and arias from opera star Andrea Bocelli’s son, Matteo who is due to perform with Mr Nakajima’s wife.
One attendee arrived wearing a classic Godfather tie with a picture of Marlon Brando – much to the amusement of locals who asked to pose with him outside the theatre.
Keisuke Hitomi, from Kyoto, told MailOnline: ‘It’s fantastic to be here in Palermo, the food is fantastic and so are the weather and the people.
‘I’m very grateful to Mr Nakajima for inviting me to the party, I’m only here for three days but I will make the most of it.
‘I want to see all the sights; the city is beautiful, and everyone thinks of the Mafia when they hear Sicily and the tie id the perfect souvenir.’
Guests arrive at the Teatro Massimo theatre in Palermo, Sicily for the celebrations
Other guests were dressed in Japanese traditional kimonos and posed happily with locals for photographs who had gathered in large number numbers outside the Teatro Massimo.
Inside Mr Nakajima spoke to guests from the Teatro Massimo’s royal box and told them to ‘enjoy themselves in one of the most beautiful cities in the world’ as they clapped and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him.
Mr Nakajima paid 100,000 Euro to hire the venue plus another 35,000 Euro to rent out the nearby Teatro Politeama on Sunday night where a more intimate dinner for 400 guests will be held.
Hotels in the city are sold out and local businesses and restaurants are delighted at the influx of high spending visitors in what is a quiet time of year.
A guest holds a ticket at the Teatro Massimo theatre in Palermo, Sicily for the birthday event
Under a non PC headline local news website LiveSicilia described the huge number of visitors as a ‘Japanese invasion’.
It added: ‘The workaholic pleasure-seekers of the Land of the Rising Sun photograph, walk and spend, on shopping, accommodation and meals.
‘It is not just a cultural contamination of two worlds it is a godsend for businesses.’
Nicola Farruggio, president of the Palermo Hotel Association, said: ‘The majority of guests are in the Villa Igiea and Grand Hotel des Palmes which are the best in the city and sold out.
‘Others are in hotels across the city and they are spending money here and posting pictures of Palermo which are being seen around the world which is a great advert for the city.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk