Top Farmhouse Stays in Sicily
Quite literally meaning the combination of tourism and agriculture, agriturismo offers a hands-on way of exploring Sicily’s celebrated cuisine and traditional culture. Staying in boutique accommodation within a working farm, travellers have the chance to take part in picking, preparing and, most importantly, eating the produce – whether it’s in the vineyards, olive groves, citrus orchards, or even cheese-making in the dairy. Here are six of the island’s finest farmhouse stays…
This 19th Century farmhouse in the heart of the famous Alcamo D.O.C wine region is a haven for foodies, continuing to produce its own olive oil, liquors, fruit, vegetables and herbs to this day – not to mention four varieties of wine (Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay and Nero d’Avola). A cluster of rustic farm buildings housing the original bakery, granary and wine cellars sits across from Tarantola’s three smart guest apartments, which sleep up to ten. Thanks to the property remaining an active producer, participation in the on-site grape or olive harvests is on offer during a stay, along with guided tours of the vineyards and farmland. Look out for a gigantic hand-sculptured stone drinking trough among the vines; dating from 1889, this monument is a reminder of the ancient mineral spring coursing beneath the terrain. You can also make the most of Tarantola’s bounty with homemade picnics and wine or oil tastings offered by the owners.
This former summer residence of the noble Montalto-Spanò family is straight from the pages of The Leopard, Tomasi di Lampedusa’s iconic tale of Sicily’s feudal golden age. Rooms are filled with antique furniture and feature restored handmade tiled flooring, recalling the property’s 18th-Century heritage. An impressive approach leads you to the restored original doorway and into a vast courtyard, in which the outhouses once used for storing grapes and wheat are still intact. Located in the Marsala region, renowned for the eponymous dessert wine, and surrounded by some 30,0000 sq km of vineyards, it follows that each guest room gets its name from a different Sicilian grape variety: ‘Grillo’, ‘Inzolia’, ‘Grecanico’. Yet despite being in the midst of a bucolic idyll, Baglio Spano is a mere 2km from the coast, and a turquoise sliver of the Mediterranean can be spied from the second floor windows.