Turns out the island does have its share of super-stylish, ultra-secluded villas; you just need to know where to look. Down in the southeast corner is one place, between the theatrically beautiful Baroque hilltown of Noto and the flamingo-filled lagoons and sandy coves of Vendicari; we’ve unearthed a stunning villa here. Or in Taormina - a popular, pedestrianised town famed for its Greek theatre, arty boutiques and long views out to smoking Mt. Etna and the sweeping Catania coastline. Here, hidden on a terrace overlooking the Isola Bella, is a chic white house whose pool has some of the best views in town. Or head inland, to a pine-shaded valley near the aristocratic town of Caltagirone, whose palaces, churches and stepped paths are decorated with colourful ceramics: not the first place you might expect to find a 4-bed designer hideaway, but what a way to uncover the ‘real Sicily’.
Holding them all together is the ultra-capable Massimo, a London-based Sicilian who has exclusive rights to these rentals, and who will patch in a private chef, wine guide or yoga teacher to create the ultimate villa holiday for you and your clan. The Cap d'Antibes? So passé, darling.
- All these houses have wonderful outdoor spaces - dining verandas, poolside terraces, private patios - for Sicilian-style summer living
- The Taormina house works well without a car: you can walk to restaurants, shops and beaches (or take a cable car!)
- The others all have huge gardens for complete privacy and seclusion
- Vendicari, near the Noto villa, has some of Sicily's loveliest beaches - and no crowds
- Impressive kit lists include power showers, satellite TVs, big BBQs, even a private gym and foosball in one house
- With 3-5 bedrooms, these villas are a bit larger than you need for a family - so bring your parents, or another family!
- They're not cheap, especially in July or August; but still better value than neighbouring Sardinia
- Interior design in the Noto villa is quite busy: we liked it, you may not
- Most bedrooms are double (not twin) bedded
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Luxury Villas
- 3 villas for 5-10
- Self-catering (chef on request)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
Noto Luxury Villa
We think the southeast corner of Sicily is so beautiful - with the sandy coves of Vendicari below, and the handsome Baroque town of Noto above - that any villa here is a find. This stylish, spacious 4 bedroom house has landscaped grounds with aromatic shrubs and exotic cactus gardens, a big decked pool with infinity edges and sleek loungers, and a covered pergola for sitting and dining. In this climate, life is lived outdoors.
Interiors are more conventional, though still eye-catching. Double height beneath lime-washed eaves, the living-dining space has floor to ceiling racks of carefully arranged books and objets (we’re not sure how you reach the top shelves, though). In the upstairs bedrooms, bold polygonal fabrics contrast with terracotta-and-cream check floors; bathrooms are a riot of ceramic Sicilian tiles and matching wallpapers. The kitchen is comparatively traditional - and perhaps all the better for it. Best of all, though, is the sunken 16-metre pool, especially under a huge sunset or a skyful of stars.
Taormina Luxury Villa
To be so close to the town centre - Taormina’s boutiques and bars are a 15-minute stroll - and yet to have such uninterrupted coastal views is a rare privilege. This ultra-desirable 3 / 4-bedroom house is tucked almost out of sight on three leafy terraces, midway down to the beaches of Mazzaro and Isola Bella; from the pool terrace (or the dining or bedroom terraces) you gaze out past bobbing boats to distant Calabria on the sparkling horizon. Morning birds can walk (steeply!) down in 10 minutes for a morning swim before the crowds hit.
Indoors, all is calm and classy: white walls, parquet floors, bright downlighters, sliding picture windows. There are pops of art and patches of exposed rock (on which the house directly rests), but the views do the talking. The focal point is the open-plan living-dining space. A smart kitchen comes with gleaming black-and-chrome appliances. There are two bedrooms on this level - a huge master with ensuite shower room, and a small double (or single) with adjacent bathroom.
If you need more, a separate downstairs apartment almost doubles the space, with its own living-dining area, small kitchenette, double (or twin) bedroom and shower room. Best of all - for the teens it's aimed at - is the foosball table, indoor gym and giant TV.
The only minor quibble we could find is that the roof of the municipal pool slightly spoils the view from the lower levels.
Caltagirone Luxury Villa
If you're looking for a totally secluded, super-chic rural hideaway for 5-9, which still offers the last word in creature comforts and eye-catching design, then check out this beautifully restored former winery. Tucked deep within the folds of Sicily's rugged interior, it's 15 minutes from the aristocratic town of Caltagirone, and 45 from sandy beaches or the Roman mosaics of Piazza Armerina.
The sleek infinity-edged pool is surrounded by gently rustling pine forests, and looks out on 24 acres of enclosed grounds - all of which you can explore on foot or mountain bike, following paths through olive, fruit and eucalyptus groves.
Inside, the light-filled double-height sitting room comes with dangling designer lights, long linen sofas and a Bose sound system. A dining room connects to a well equipped kitchen and out to the al fresco dining terrace, with its long table and even longer views. There are more outdoor sitting areas, and patios too. The main house has two double bedrooms, one of which has a bed made from old barrels and an extra single bed if needed; plus a third salotto del vino - the old grape-crushing room - whose sofa can be made up as a comfy double bed (or it can be used as a second sitting/TV room). All three have their own bathrooms, one of them boasting a huge oval tub.
A fourth bedroom is available in a separate modern annexe, a minute’s walk away through the pine trees. It comes with a double bed and ensuite shower room, floor-to-ceiling windows with wafting white curtains, and its own wraparound terrace (we loved the circular hole for trees to grow through). Grandparents or in-laws who want a bit of separation from the fray would love it here.
It's worth knowing that the house sits above a railway tunnel - so if you hear a faint rumble every hour or two, it's not your stomach.
Children of all ages are welcome at all the villas.
We think the Noto villa is the most family-friendly, thanks to its big pool and proximity to sandy beaches; but mind the cactus gardens!
The Taormina villa is great for (older) teens; its semi-separate apartment has a foosball, Sky TV and indoor gym.
The Caltagirone villa is best for a three-generation holiday, using the separate annexe for grandparents; though the others also work brilliantly for a 3G break.
And all of them could fit 2 families travelling together, though it might be a bit of squeeze in Taormina as one of the double bedrooms is pretty tight.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Kids Activities on site:
- Private pools
- Satellite TVs with big screen
- Foosball (table football) in Taormina
- Noto Villa: Shops & Hospital 20 mins (Noto), Airport 1 hr 10mins (Catania)
- Taormina Villa: Shops & Hospital 5-10 mins (Taormina), Airport 1 hr (Catania)
- Caltagirone Villa: Shops & Hospital 10 mins (Caltagirone), Airport 1 hr 10mins (Catania)
For more family-friendly places, see our Kids Collection
The villas are located near Noto (on Sicily's southeast coast), in Taormina (east coast), and outside Caltagirone (west of Catania).
> See all villa locations on a Google map (new window)
The closest airport is Catania Fontanarossa which is about 100km (1hr15) from the Noto villa, 70km (1hr) from Caltagirone, and also 70km (1hr) from Taormina. Alternatively, you could fly into Palermo, but it's about 300km from all 3 locations.
From the Airport
You'll almost certainly need a rental car. All villas have off-street parking.
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.
- Catania 90.0 km CTA
- Palermo 120.0 km PMO
- Beach 10.0 km
- Shops 5.0 km
- Restaurant 5.0 km