IN AN effort to give Tuscany a run for its money some of the Sicily's most noble families have thrown open their homes to the exclusive use of guests. Don Arcangelo all'Olmo is one elegant example.
To one side of the estate is a view of Mount Etna. To the other is the blue slash of the Ionian Sea. Surrounded by lemon groves, the property consists of two separate buildings, twelve bedroom accommodation split between the original villa and a renovated farmhouse; this is the perfect setting for a two family holiday.
The main house, built around 1845, originally housed a wine press and storage rooms for the citrus fruit. It was then rebuilt as a manor house in typical Sicilian style. The house has a large terrace overlooking an olive grove and with a view of the sea. The other single-story house has four double bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. It is surrounded by a private herb garden. Both houses are furnished with many precious family pieces. Full time staff are on tap.
Get ready to eat well because in true Sicilian style Marchesa Marina is a passionate cook and entertainer. She loves to have her kitchen reproduce family recipes gathered over generations. So you could be in store for anything from a traditional Sicilian family meal to an eight course banquet.
An 18 metre heated pool and extensive gardens give plenty of room to play and explore. You can learn to cook like a marchesa with classes in the kitchen, tour wineries to pick up accompaniments or play an 18-hole game of golf nearby.
Pretty Taormina, beloved of the European jet set, is 20 kilometres away and the smoulder of Mount Etna a mere 15kms.
Words: Prue Rushton 10/3/10
Photos: Copyright Think Sicily