There's just something about Sicily. Romance and common sense. Culture and cuisine. History and machismo. Juxtaposition is on display most everywhere in this storied city—from the cerulean blue ocean waters to the smoking volcano of Mount Etna. Juxtaposition is also found in modern and ancient Sicily—a day trip to view the historic amphitheater in Segesta, located atop Monte Bàrbaro, will reveal Sicily’s modern autostrada in the background of your Instaworthy pics. It’s this very juxtaposition that makes exploring the largest Mediterranean island off the southern coast of Italy so much fun.
And as part of the new 2022 Exclusive Resorts Villa Collection, your headquarters are brand new, three- or four-bedroom villas combining privacy with the services and amenities of the five-star Rocco Forte’s Verdura Resort. So whether you’re after stellar wines and cuisine, dare-to-leave-me beaches, or ancient ruins, Sicily has it all— which is why this Italian outpost is a hub for chefs, architects, and innovators. Here’s your cheat sheet to Sicilian bliss.
THE HISTORY BUFF
Sicilian culture has been defined by the unique intersection of ancient Greeks, Romans, and the Byzantines. Topping your itinerary? The Parco Archeologico di Selinunte (the largest archeological park in all of Europe), the Valley of the Temples, and the Ancient Greek Theatre in Taormina. And when you need to work off all that seafood, pasta, and fine wine, take a stroll along the famous Scala dei Turchi, where white cliffs kiss impossibly pristine beaches.
Sicily is famous for its traditional and colorful ceramics. While exploring most any local enclave you’ll come across brilliant plates, bowls, and pots. Visit the Caltagirone region, and you’ll discover the Regional Ceramics Museum, plus the area hosts various seminars on crafting Sicily’s obsession with maiolica and terra cotta pieces.
THE FOODIE, GOLFER & SPA LOVER
Considering the many decadent restaurants, multiple golf courses, and clay tennis courts, your luxe Sicilian basecamp at Rocco Forte’s Verdura Resort may be tough to leave. Learn how to prepare Sicilian pizza and pasta during one of the resort’s cooking classes, take a mixology masterclass, or discover regional wines with an expert sommelier. The Verdura Spa is housed in pavilions centered around an open-air courtyard— don’t miss the Thalassotherapy pools, Finnish saunas, and yoga classes. And if tee time is most enticing, three courses by acclaimed designer Kyle Phillips await. Known for courses like Kingsbarns Golf Links in Scotland, Phillips created two 18-hole championship courses and a nine-hole, par-3 course that all play along Verdura’s incredible coastal scenery.
WHERE YOU’LL STAY
Located on the southwest coast of Sicily (80 minutes from Palermo PMO and Trapani TPS International Airports), three- and four bedroom villas frame uninterrupted views of the Verdura Resort and the Mediterranean Sea. The luxury resort features eight restaurants/ bars, two 18-hole golf courses, a tennis club with six clay courts, a spa, a football pitch, and four boutiques.