“A clutch of lovingly restored stone cottages, with vibrant rustic-chic interiors and sweeping views over the Baroque town of Modica”
The rooms spill down the hillside, each with views over Modica and a separate entrance off the garden. All combine old and new: rescued wrought-iron beds topped with orthopaedic mattresses, salvaged tailors’ hangers next to flat-screen TVs, a safe hidden behind a metal oven door in the wall. Pale masonry is broken up with bright colours, beams and patterned tiles that evoke Sicily’s Arabic and Spanish past, and bathrooms come with waterfall showers (no tubs). All but the smallest rooms have private terraces.
Largest are the suites. In desert-brown Scirocco, you’ll find a carriage axle incorporated into a mirror frame and a decorative silver swan from Cairo. The spacious split-level Superior Suites, Meridiana and Talia, have sofabeds on their upper floors; the former is one of our favourite rooms, with a romantic lower-floor bedroom hewn out of the cliff face. Also carved into the rock is Buendia, which is set a little way from the others and can accommodate up to 3 extra beds within its white, cave-like walls; it has a kitchenette, too.
Since our visit, the Volo Suite has also been added - we're yet to personally view the space but a cube-like glass-walled bedroom and palatial terrace (with stunning views) set the tone.
Smaller but just as striking are the Superior Rooms. We loved the deep magenta walls in Sirah, the delicate greens in soothing Agave, and the wall-full of intricate blue and white tiling in Mediterraneo. Of the Standard Rooms, the nicest is bright and breezy Zenzero thanks to its French doors onto a small balcony. We’d avoid Cedro and Zagare, which share a terrace and lack soundproofing, and we’re yet to see stone-floored Ibla.
Marco and Viviana prepare a beautiful breakfast of homemade jams, fresh fruit, creamy yoghurt, blood orange juice, bread and pastries (including heart-shaped chocolate bites or sugar-dusted muffins). There's a breakfast room with picture windows at the front and a cave at the back, but in summer you sit outside in the shade of the fig tree, gazing over the banked houses of Modica.
No other meals are served, but picnic hampers can be arranged and the Buendia suite has a kitchenette - not suitable for cooking, but fine for preparing snacks, with plates, glasses, a dishwasher, and a few basics such as coffee, tea, cereals, fruit and water.
For lunch and dinner, there are several restaurants within a 10-minute walk, including the stylish and soigné Torre d'Oriente on Via Posterla, or the traditional Osteria di Sapori Perduti on Corso Umberto, which has delicious antipasti and Sicilian specialities. Or you could head to nearby Ragusa, where "Italy's best young chef" (according to Gambero Rosso magazine), Ciccio Sultano, prepares Michelin-starred Sicilian delicacies in his elegant restaurant near the Duomo, whose name it bears.
Children of all ages are welcome. Marco and Viviana have a young child themselves, and will informally let you use their kitchen for preparing food and milk.
Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)
The Scirocco Suite and Volo Suite each have 2 single sofas which can be used as beds, and split-level Meridiana and Talia have sofabeds on their upper floors. Buendia can take up to 3 additional beds, and also has a basic kitchenette that's handy for preparing kids' snacks. Baby cots can be added to all rooms, and one Superior Room (Agave) has space for an extra child's bed.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Food and milk can be prepared in the owners' kitchen on request.