Hotel Novecento

Scicli, Sicily, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Ros Belford
Intimate and perfectly formed bijou hotel in a gorgeous but little-known Sicilian Baroque town
A higgledy-piggledy mosaic of tiny pantiled houses embracing a fine Baroque core, Scicli spills along 3 valleys dominated by dramatic cave-pocked cliffs. Novecento, Scicli’s first (and so far only) hotel, is an ideal base for anyone wanting a taste of life in an old-fashioned Sicilian town, while exploring the Baroque jewels, unspoilt sandy beaches, gastronomy and countryside of southeastern Sicily.

Quietly located in the centre of town, 6 rooms and a suite occupy a 19th-century palazzo of luminous local limestone. Sinuous 1950s Flos chandeliers, exposed stone vaults, tall vases of tangled orchids and willow, and an antique sofa re-upholstered in cream and black devoré combine to make this the kind of hotel that it feels good to walk into. Owners and staff are warm and enthusiastic, rooms are designed to be comfortable hideaways as well as aesthetically pleasing, and little touches - hot, fresh ricotta for breakfast, a fine collection of lithographs by the artists of the prestigious Gruppo di Scicli - root the hotel firmly in its community.


  • A seamless fusion of 100 years of design, from Liberty to Artemide via Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe
  • Sumptuous bathrooms with vibrant Bisazza mosaics
  • Three rooms and the suite retain original frescoed ceilings
  • Solo travellers can book a beautiful single room opening onto a balcony overlooking the courtyard
  • The on-site Caffè 900, with its furniture of wenge and beech, is evolving into a stylish rendezvous for breakfast, coffee or an aperitif


  • The only outside space is a small shaded courtyard, which is too cool for alfresco breakfasts outside midsummer
  • Although children are welcome, this is a quiet and intimate hotel, best suited to adults (especially couples)
  • You really need to have a car here - Scicli is fairly remote and taxi service is non-existent
  • The hotel's Restaurant 900 is often closed, but there are plenty of options for eating out nearby

Best time to go

Spring and autumn are generally the best times to visit southern Sicily. July and August can be unbearably hot, and the beaches get crowded in August, especially during the week around the Assumption (the 15th).

At Easter, the festival of Uomo Vivo ('Man Alive') in Scicli is a boisterous celebration of the resurrection of Christ. On March 19, communal feasting marks St Joseph’s Day. And in late May you can witness a battle between the Normans and Saracens re-enacted at the hugely popular festival of the Madonna delle Milizie.

Our top tips

Pomodoro is a great, minimalist restaurant where brothers Enrico and Giuseppe Gugliotta make their own pasta and, more unusually, bread. Their signature dishes include a cream of beans with mussels and prawns, and tagliatelle with cherry tomatoes, capers, breadcrumbs and Ragusana cheese.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 7
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Under 2s and over 12s preferred
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court


These rooms are as seductive and stylish as you could hope to find in any European city - and a real treasure in this sleepy Sicilian town. Custom-designed oak and wenge beds have white linen sheets and heavyweight spreads in muted hues of stone; bathrooms are fitted with oak, floored with black gres and mosaicked with sumptuous Bisazza tessera (perhaps pearl, midnight blue, malachite, gold...).

Bathrooms in particular are places to linger, with voluptuous square-headed showers and boat-shaped sinks by Flaminia, pampering products by Etro, and (in Superior Room 902 and the Suite) deep bathtubs.

The 2-room Suite is vast (36 sq.m), its ceiling retaining original frescoes of seascapes, landscapes and angels. The walls - painted to echo the original rose-coloured brick - are hung with lithographs by Guccione, Polizzi, Sonia Alvarez and Zucchero.

Room 901, a ground-floor Classic (which is adapted for disabled guests), is also large (20 sq.m) and, like the lobby, vaulted in limestone. The more modestly sized Deluxe Rooms, 904 and 905, and Single Room, 906, with views over town all have frescoed vaults. There's not much noise in Scicli at night, but the quietest rooms are the 2 Superior Rooms, 902 and 903, and the Single Room, 906, which look down onto the courtyard.

All rooms have internet access, flat-screen TVs, Sky (free except for films), safe boxes and slippers.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Slippers
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Breakfast, served on tables set with heavy taupe linen, is a generous spread. Local produce features strongly - there are handmade jams, Sicilian honeys, pistachio and hazelnut creams, handmade almond biscuits, cakes, ricotta still hot from the farm, lemon and chocolate puddings, fresh fruit salad, and plenty of fresh bread. Hot dishes, such as scrambled or fried eggs with bacon, ham or sausages, can also be ordered.

Throughout the day, Caffè 900 has a selection of pastries, freshly filled cannoli and, in summer, granite and smoothies. Drinks include the Eraclea range of hot chocolates, and novelties such as coffee with ginseng.

Come evening, Restaurant 900 - an elegant space with a Heals-type sideboard, an ornate Baroque mirror and a Medusa chandelier - serves local and seasonal dishes, such as pasta with swordfish and couscous with vegetables and crisp prawns. If you come at Easter, make sure you pre-order ‘mpanata di agnello, a pie filled with lamb for which the area is famous.

If you want to eat out, you'll find plenty of places serving hearty Sicilian food: meaty stews, creamy cheeses, crispy pies and pungent Nero d'Avola red wines. Head to Donnalucata (10km away) for seafood - we recommend Ristorante Al Molo (Via Perello 90, tel: 0932 937710) for fresh, well-priced fish.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service


  • Explore the gorgeous and underrated town of Scicli on your doorstep: wander down Via Francesco Mormina Penna, lined with magnificent Baroque palaces and churches, to broad Corso Garibaldi, then hike up to the churches of San Matteo and San Bartolomeo, seemingly fused to the limestone cliffs above town

  • Allow at least half a day apiece in the other Baroque towns in the area: Ragusa, Modica and Noto - all within an hour's drive and full of crumbling limestone jewels

  • Spend the day on the long, unspoilt beach of Sampieri, and have a picnic in the evocative, ecclesiastical-like ruins of the abandoned tonnara (tuna factory), used as a location in the Italian TV series Montalbano

  • Visit the enchanting Vendicari Nature Reserve, with its lovely walks, unspoilt sandy beaches and salt lagoons that attract migratory birds such as flamingos; you can almost always find a cove to yourself in spring or autumn

  • Drive down to Portopalo di Capo Passero, the southernmost tip of Sicily, and along the coast to the Isola dei Correnti, which you can wade across to at low tide

  • Explore the troglodytic culture of nearby Cava d’Ispica - a series of cave dwellings and tombs painstakingly cut out of limestone cliffs. If you have the time and energy, you can follow the gorge all the way to Ispica town (12km / 3-4 hours), a lovely walk in springtime

  • The hotel can also arrange an excursion to the ancient caves of Chiafura, inhabited until a few decades ago

  • Sample local produce at sagre (festivals) throughout the area, celebrating sausages, squid, fish and even onions

  • Back in Scicli, visit the Tecnica Mista art gallery on Corso Mazzini to see more of the work of the Gruppo di Scicli

  • Hotel staff can book a tennis court for you (3km away), and point you to places which hire out bicycles (10km away) or windsurfers (15km away)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting


Children are welcome, but with limited outdoor space and a distinctly designer décor, it's only really appropriate for older children or babes in arms. Cots are available free of charge, given advance notice.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

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