Masseria Ciancio

near Pozzallo, Sicily, Italy Book from Book from £89 per night

Charming agriturismo with rooms and apartments in bucolic countryside, close to beaches and Sicily's Baroque towns
Near Modica and nearer Pozzallo, Masseria Cianciò (pronounced chancho) is a handy base for exploring the wonders of southeast Sicily. Set amid olive and carob trees, surrounded by dry-stone-walled fields, this 19th-century farmhouse has been welcoming guests since 2000. Former cowsheds and warehouses around the central cobbled courtyard have been transformed into 8 rooms and apartments, most with private gardens.

What sets this agriturismo apart is the retro country-kitchen decor throughout. Owner Gina Ricci, a former interior designer, has scoured the island for vintage and heirloom pieces, to delightful effect. She has juxtaposed chintz and check fabrics with old crockery (she has a thing for china hens), antique furniture and 18th-century tiles (which you can buy in their small shop), and imbued the whole place with a light touch. Accommodations are good value; some have kitchenettes if you prefer to self-cater, and picnic baskets and dinners are available on request.

Highs

  • Original vintage country decor, artfully styled
  • Generous yet dainty breakfasts served in the stone-and-cobbled breakfast room
  • Set in extensive gardens and grounds with a lovely pool plus a playground for children
  • Tranquil, rural setting yet close to beaches, Unesco Baroque towns, and only an hour and a half's drive from the airport
  • A delightfully authentic agriturismo; you feel very much in the heart of Sicily here

Lows

  • No restaurant and although you can order picnic baskets for the day at breakfast, you need to order evening meals 48 hours in advance, and you'll need to drive to any other restaurants or to pick up pizza
  • Some may not succumb to the retro charm and find the rustic nature of the place irksome (few mod cons, off the beaten track, quiet, some rooms faded, kitchenettes old-fashioned)
  • Bathrooms are small in most units

Best time to go

Sicily is best visited in spring and autumn as it can be blazing hot in summer, despite sea breezes. Most places, including Masseria Cianciò, are closed during the winter months.

Our top tips

Take a day trip to Unesco-listed Modica, the nearest of the Baroque cities in the southeast of Sicily, built in a cleft in the limestone plateau and divided into Modica Alta (Upper Modica) and Modica Bassa (Lower Modica). While there, don't forget to sample the famous local Modica Cioccolata (some of which will be on your pillow at Masseria Cianciò on arrival for booking through i-escape).

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Rural B&B
  • 8
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 10 Dec 2018 - 28 Feb 2019
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Communal DVD player
  • Communal TV
Room:

Rooms

The heart of Masseria Cianciò is its charming cobbled courtyard, where you can take breakfast and sometimes enjoy barbecues in summer months. Seven of the 8 rooms and apartments lead off this courtyard; only two (Rooms 1 and 12) are accessed round to the side - and all are on the ground floor.

Created from former livestock sheds and grain warehouses, no two rooms are the same. Most feel spacious with high wood-beamed ceilings and white-washed walls plus access to private gardens or patio areas at the back, as ours did (Room 21). Some have 2 bedrooms (the second bedroom is always a twin) and/or kitchenettes. Shower bathrooms, with hairdryer and basic toiletries supplied, are usually compact; we found all to be immaculately kept.

Each room, whatever the size and configuration, shows the same deft styling: check curtains, posies, floral cushions, vintage kitchenware, antique bedheads and tiles. Yet none feels cluttered and there's a subtle colour scheme of red and green.

All rooms have a mini-fridge with drinks, both alcoholic and not, and snacks (extra cost). The 3 apartments/room with kitchenettes are delightfully retro - one even has an original 1920s bread oven - but not bristling with mod cons or very spacious.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee/tea making (on request)
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfasts at Masseria Cianciò were some of the best we had in Sicily: very authentic, showcasing homemade jams (including tomato, yum), local honey, and an elegant display of freshly-baked cakes, pastries and breads. Served in the cobbled-floor breakfast room, the spread also consists of fresh fruit, cereals, never-ending coffee and tea, juices, and a smorgasbord of cheese and ham specifically for northern Europeans.

There's no restaurant but you can order picnic baskets and dinners. There are 2 options of picnic; a lighter version with an emphasis on fruit and salad, or one with more Sicilian fare such as stuffed pasta rolls. Let them know of any special requests or dietary requirements. For dinners, note that they need 48 hours' notice. We were caught out by this so didn't get to try the proffered 3-course meal of a rich Sicilian starter followed by homemade pasta then dessert plus fruit. Occasionally in the summer they'll put on a communal barbecue in the courtyard.

There are kitchenettes in 3 of the apartments. They are cute if old-fashioned, and each has a kettle, hob, gas cooker, pots and pans, cutlery, crockery and fridge-freezer. You'll need to buy everything you need for self-catering; only washing-up liquid is supplied. A welcome basket can be provided on request, in which you'll find pasta, olive oil, tomato sauce, salt, sugar and coffee; note there is an additional daily charge for use of the kitchenettes. There's a bar service on request, just ask if you'd like a glass of wine, there's a wine list to choose from.

If eating out there are plenty of options in Pozzallo, including a pizza place for takeaways; staff can advise.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Picnic Baskets on request
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Enjoy the Masseria's pretty dry-stone walled fields and pathways full of birdsong and flowers, olive and carob trees, and its tranquil pool area and private courtyards
  • Take a Sicilian cookery class and learn how to make traditional dishes such as cavatelli pasta with aubergine and ravioli with ricotta cheese
  • Explore the Unesco-listed Baroque towns in this region: Noto, Modica, Ragusa and Scicli are all worth visiting
  • Head to Pozzallo for its sandy beach plus bars and restaurants; from here a boat can take you to Malta for a day trip
  • There's a renowned nature reserve, Vendicari, nearby
  • The Cava Ipsica caves are also close; these have remains and ruins dating across millennia
  • Staff can advise on local attractions and excursions such as horse riding, wineries and markets

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Masseria Cianciò is a great place for families. The property is large enough for kids to roam around freely, there's a pool and playground, and all rooms can take 2+ people, plus there are extra beds and cots.

The nearest shops are about 8 minutes' drive away in Pozzallo, useful if you're going the self-catering route with a kitchenette. You're close enough to beaches, too.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms can hold multiple occupants, but the apartments and room which have kitchenettes (nos. 7, 12, and 19), and the family rooms (nos. 5, 15, 21 and 23), would work best for families. We saw a couple of extended families staying here when we stayed; the way the rooms are laid out means you could take 2 or 3 next to each other and share private gardens and kitchenettes for a fun, multi-generational holiday.

Children's meals:

  • Bottle warming
  • High chairs
  • Blender/mixer can be provided

Kids Activities on site:

  • Playground
  • Swimming pool
  • Petanque
  • Ping pong table
  • Fields and garden to roam around

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches at Pozzallo
  • Ruins at Agrigento to explore
  • Vendicari Nature Reserve

Families Should Know:

The pool is unfenced but there are walls and gates around the pool garden area itself.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Doctor: 8 minutes
  • Shops: 8 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

Masseria Cianciò is about 8km from Pozzallo and 16km from Modica in the southeast corner of Sicily.

By Air
Fly to Comiso, or, if you're touring the whole of Sicily, to Catania or Palermo.

From the Airport
From Catania it's 1.5 hours by car, following the SS115 via Siracusa and Noto. Although the Masseria does provide transfers on request, you'll probably want a hire car for your stay (see below).

By Car:
For car hire see our car rental recommendations. The Masseria can be a little tricky to find, so make sure you take directions with you (provided automatically when you confirm a booking through i-escape). You can park for free in the field beside the playground.

By Boat
If you're driving from southern mainland Italy, take the regular ferry from Villa San Giovanni to Messina (every 20 minutes; sailing time of 20 minutes) then follow the A18 motorway south to Catania (155km / 1.5 hours) before picking up the SS115 to Modica (110km / 1.5 hours).

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Comiso 51.0 km CIY
  • Catania Fontanarossa 100.0 km CTA

Other:

  • Beach 8.0 km
  • Shops 8.0 km
  • Restaurant 8.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 7 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We had a great stay at Masseria Ciancio. The room was very rustic and tastefully decorated with attractive furniture and fabrics. The breakfasts were a treat with a good selection of fresh, local produce, plus homemade cakes. A great swimming pool, plus lots of space for children to roam. The staff are rather special - always smiling and on hand to assist. Lots to explore nearby. A very relaxing week.

10/10,

Overall we loved our stay at Masseria Ciancio. It was made especially good because the staff were so helpful in planning and advising us where to visit and eat. Our apartment was great for a family of 5, separate rooms and a small kitchen really suited our needs. We were there at the beginning of the season and unfortunately they were still tidying up and preparing the gardens etc when we arrived, but seeing and smelling the wisteria that surrounds the courtyard in full flower was just gorgeous. I loved the rustic decor and I imagine in the height of summer the cool, dark rooms are a welcome relief, but they were slightly chilly at this time of year, although the heaters soon warmed things up.
Great location to visit all those gorgeous towns nearby. Shame there wasn’t a fully functioning restaurant but the food we did have there was delicious and we really enjoyed our cooking course too.

9/10,

If you are looking for somewhere to completely switch off and recharge this is the place. Quite isolated, but within easy reach to the beautiful Vatican towns of Modica, Sicily and Ragusa Ibla, and the not as pretty Pozzallo (very close and convenient). Once you are there, the tranquility of this very tastefully restored masseria overcomes you and you immediately feel relaxed and calm. The staff is also amazing, available when you need them, but very much respecting your privacy. The pool area is really lovely - reading a book, having lunch and napping under the caruba trees is bliss!
Kids can enjoy the pool or safely walk around exploring the surroundings. The room was very comfortable and super cute and included a rocky garden where we could chill out at night to have a glass of wine with one of the lovely picnic baskets they provide.
Food is really lovely, but not enough variety.
This place took me back to the feeling of 'slow summer' time I used to have when I was a child. A good reminder to slow down and enjoy nature and silence sometimes!

9/10,

Beautiful location, amazing grounds and very friendly staff.

9/10,

Masseria Ciancio is just heavenly. It has the right amount of luxury whilst retaining their authenticity. The food and service were fabulous and the pool divine. A great stay.

10/10,

This is a lovely Masseria. Charming quirky decor in a rustic farmhouse style, spotlessly clean, child friendly, great pool and with staff who couldn't do more to be helpful. We would thoroughly recommend this family run enterprise. Our only comment is that it is a little out of the way - however we still had a very pleasant five days before heading on to Ortigia.

10/10,

We arrived at Masseria Ciancio on a cold overcast day. However, we received a very warm welcome and had an excellent Sicilian dinner.

10/10,

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