Ever since I watched Alex Polizzi’s Secret Italy on Channel 5 last year, I’ve wanted to visit Sicily. The little island just off the toe of Italy keeps popping up in travel magazines I read and I’m just desperate to go and visit. I think what I love about it is that it has everything: gorgeous coastline; fabulous, ancient cities; and wonderful, vibrant food markets.. It’s one of those places (along with Cuba at the moment) that’s very high on my travel bucket list.
I’ve recently discovered Scent of Sicily Villas, and when they asked me to pick a few of my favourites, I was happy to oblige. While watching the show I was entranced by Sicily’s capital, Palermo. The faded pastel houses, grand old palazzos and piazzas all demand to be explored, and what better place to base yourself than the gorgeous Villa Oasis, close enough to the city to be a great base for sightseeing, yet far enough away to be a tranquil retreat. And just look at that pool!
Or have a look at Antico Forno (literally ‘ancient oven’ – and it does indeed have one). This gorgeous, historical house is right down in the south of Sicily, near the town of Modica, nestled in a rural setting, but still within easy driving distance of beautiful, baroque towns and gorgeous beaches.
The little island of Pantelleria fascinates me as well. Roughly half way between Sicily and Africa (they say you can see the African coast on a clear day), it looks remote but is easily accessible (there are daily flights and ferries from Sicily). I’m especially tempted here because of the Zibibbo wine that’s produced on the island. The island is dotted with ancient stone houses, called ‘dammusi’, and Villa le Zighe, nestled at the northern tip of this fascinating little island, is a stunning example.
If, like me, you fancy a trip to one of these luxury villas in Sicily, it’s so easy to get to. Of the four airports in Sicily, quite a few airlines fly to both Palermo and Catania, including EasyJet, Ryanair and from April this year, BA will fly to Palermo from Heathrow twice a week.