Japanese billionaire buys up Sicilian city for four-day birthday party for 1,400 friends
The plans were so large that an orchestra was moved to a smaller venue to make way for his extravagant celebrations.
Residents are fuming after their historic city has been hired by a Japanese billionaire for a four-day birthday bender.
Billionaire Kaoru Nakajima’s plans are so large that Sicily’s symphonic orchestra was moved to a smaller venue to make way for his extravagant celebrations.
Centuries-old hotels, opera houses, theatres and piazzas throughout Palermo, in Italy, have been hired for Nakajima to use as a playground for his 73rd birthday with more than 1,400 guests.
The largest opera house in Europe – the Teatro Massimo – has also been hired by the ‘eccentric’ Japanese businessman, who has a taste for the finer things in life.
He’s previously been pictured rubbing shoulders with celebrities like Mariah Carey, and seemingly has no problem dropping hundreds of thousands on renting out the city.
Nakajima even paid over £32,244 to order custom seating so his guests can dance and dine in the 132-year-old Politeama Theatre.
Guests for the weekend will stay in the five-star Villa Igiea, on the lush Palermo Beach front, and the Grand Hotel et des Palmes – where rooms go for nearly £700 per night.
Celebrity chefs will feed the boujee crowds, and a famous Mozart opera is set to performed by Riccardo Muti, a prestigious Italian conductor.
The son of Andrea Bocelli, Matteo, has also organised a concert for the birthday boy – but locals aren’t happy with the extravagant plans.
Sicily regional president Renato Schifani slammed Palermo mayor Roberto Lagalla for agreeing to the four-day party, asking why authorities weren’t notified ahead of time.
He raged: ‘I’m perplexed as to why two theatres have been hired at great expense and can only hope the money paid goes to charity.
‘These sort of large-scale events should go before a public order committee and yet there was no meeting held in advance.’
He continued: ‘I just hope that all goes well but this is certainly a very serious situation and it must never happen again… there is a limit to everything.’
Now locals are worried that other elite figures could pay to rent out the beloved city at their leisure.
Locals commented on a Facebook post about the news, with one saying the royal box at the theatre should only be for ‘heads of state’.
Another local said: ‘I’ve lived in Palermo all my life and I’ve never managed to get a ticket for the theatre. Now he has come from the other side of the world and gets in. Something isn’t working.’
A fuming resident said: ‘He only showed off his power through his money because he is rich and can do it for the rest his presence is of no use and will not bring anything except money to other rich people who don’t care about the city. Palermo will always remain dirty, abandoned and disadvantaged, thanks for what exactly?’
Earlier this year, celebrations were held in honour of Alexandre Arnault – the son of French tycoon Bernard Arnault – and the star-studded birthday bash was incredible.
He is estimated to be worth somewhere in the realm of $230 billion (£183 billion), so we can only imagine what kind of parties he throws.
The Arnault family owns many of the world’s most iconic luxury goods, with Bernard being the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
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