Balamour is the project of Giulia Proietti Timperi, from Rome, who after a vacation in Palermo was so fascinated that she decided to leave the Capital and move to this Sicilian city. Today her community on Instagram counts more than 36 thousand followers, a way to get to know the town…from another point of view! Sicilian Secrets interviewed her.
Q: Rome-Palermo: how did your adventure in the Sicilian city begin?
A: In 2020, during the pandemic, I vented on the phone to a colleague of mine in Palermo, telling him how much I was psychologically suffering from the restrictions and isolation. Near the first reopening, he invited to visit him. In Palermo, there would also have been some other colleagues of mine with whom I had (and have) a deep connection. Talking about this plan with another friend and colleague, we decided to leave together for a month to discover the city: we would have spent some time at the beach and work together with the others. From there, we never came back! Moving from one city to another did not cause any difficulties because my company (Marketers) is full remote and everyone works from wherever they want. All you need is a pc and an internet connection.
Q: What made you fall in love so you opted for this huge change…leaving Rome for Sicily?
A: I think it was a magical combination of ingredients. Definitely the company, the people I shared the beginning of this adventure with and those I met along the way. The much more human and smaller size of the city, compared to the big Capital in which I always felt lost. The constant presence of the sea, which makes everything more magical and peaceful. The food, which is a true five-sense experience. The cost of living, which is significantly lower than in Rome. The incredible history of this island, which can be felt in every corner and which never ceases to amaze and wonder.
Q: How did the Balamour project come about?
A: Balamour is the evolution of a project – that had another name – that was born together with the friend and (former) colleague with whom I started the journey to Palermo. After we moved there, we had decided to tell our story and our adventures by opening an Instagram profile together. It was kind of our ‘travelogue’ about discovering the island. After about a year and a half, we took different paths and that profile became my Balamour (from ‘Balarm’, the name of Arabic Palermo and ‘amour’, love in French). Balamour is a story of Sicily (and Palermo in particular) through the eyes of those who chose it. And it still is my travelogue, and my persona journal too.
Q: You tell Palermo through its beauties and treasures, what is your ‘special place’ in the city?
A: Choosing is always difficult. The Foro Italico at sunrise, remains my favorite place: there are sensations, colors, scents and sounds that cannot be found anywhere else and at any other time.
Q: Your community on Instagram counts over 36 thousand followers, what feedback do you get daily from those who follow you?
A: I feel really lucky and grateful, because over these years I have gotten to know (even personally) many people who follow the project, and I have met only special people: sensitive, gentle, welcoming, interested, caring. Some are now my great friends! I have always felt tremendous support and a warm welcome. Every day I respond to so many messages that touch my heart. We are a beautiful community and I will never take that for granted.
Q: Horace said “So following the wind in Rome I long for Tivoli, in Tivoli I long for Rome”, what do you miss about Rome? And when you are in Rome…what do you miss about Palermo?
A: It sounds absurd, but I don’t miss anything from Rome. Only…the Roman accent! To go back and hear it everywhere is like music to me! Rome is shockingly beautiful, but I can’t feel it home. Seeing it though is always a thrill. And then my mother and father are there, I miss them. When I move away from Palermo, I miss…everything. The familiar faces I meet every day when I come down from home, people, my routine, my favorite places. This is home for me.
Q: How would you describe your relationship with Palermo and Sicily?
A: I feel that I have always belonged to these places. It is difficult to explain this feelings. I don’t know, maybe I was born in Rome by mistake! Or in another life I was a true girl from Palermo. I love this land like if I was born here, I feel more and more seduced and fascinated by everything I see: landscapes, people, places. In a nutshell: hopelessly in love.
Q: Unfaltering question: carbonara Vs baked anelletti…which wins?
A: I am not a super glutton of either! For me, the winner is the
Q: Make a wish for the future of Balamour: how would you like this project to evolve?
A: I would like the project to become more and more rooted in the territory, becoming a megaphone for local realities, art, culture for Sicilians and non-Sicilians. I would like to work on projects together with the municipality and the region, to act bigger and bigger.