Jun 10, 2023

11 Best Villas in Sicily, From Palermo to Noto (2023)




By Lauren Burvill

With all the hallmarks of a dream getaway—warm weather, azure waters, a rich and storied history, a distinct culinary scene—the seductive allure of the Mediterranean Sea’s largest island is an enduring one. Its distinct Italian flavor has long been coveted in popular culture; it was practically a character in The Godfather film trilogy. More recently, it starred as the mysteriously beautiful backdrop in season two of The White Lotus. Suddenly, the Sicilian attraction is stronger than ever. For a taste of its sweet, cannoli-filled life, these are the villas in Sicily that have caught our eye for their grandeur, location, and charm. And for a stay with room service, see our pick of the best hotels in Sicily.

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Located in the small southern seaside village of Brucoli, this smart villa has an unbeatable location—jutting out of a rocky outcrop, overlooking the Ionian Sea with Mount Etna in the background. The spectacular seafront spot comes courtesy of the villa’s previous life as a lighthouse—the beacon still tops the villa, while the rest of the building has been meticulously restored and modernized into a sleek three-bedroom, three-bathroom villa. Inside, the mood is minimalist and monochrome, with an airy open-plan living room and sea views to be spied at every turn. In one of the bedrooms, a chocolate velvet bed frame sits within steps of a freestanding bath, while white teste di moro (Sicilian ceramic heads) are perched above on the window sills. Up on the roof terrace, a spacious lounge area sits on beautiful turquoise majolica tiles, while the wraparound terrace has everything you could need for a dream Sicilian holiday—sun loungers, a covered dining area, and a hot tub. The villa has direct access to the shore, where guests can use the deckchairs by the water. A small sandy beach is a short walk away.

Sleeps: 6

Price: from about $786 per night, or $131 per person per night, seven nights minimum

If you’re here to live out the White Lotus fantasy, you’re in luck— the dazzling Italian palazzo Harper Spiller and Daphne Sullivan (played by Aubrey Plaza and Meghann Fahy) stayed in is available to rent on Airbnb. Villa Tasca is an exquisite neoclassical palazzo with all the trimmings—romantic trompe-l’oeil frescoes, Murano chandeliers, high ceilings, tall windows, and gilt-framed paintings. The time warp continues in all four bedrooms, beautifully kitted out with vintage furniture and freestanding bathtubs in the en suite bathrooms, along with much-needed modern features include mini fridges and air conditioning. Outside there are 20 sprawling acres of manicured gardens, including a swimming pool, alfresco dining area, and even a swan lake.

Sleeps: 8

Price: $5,937 per night, or $742 per person per night, three nights minimum

In terms of location, it doesn’t get much better than this secluded beach house in Val di Noto. While much of the UNESCO towns in this historic region are Baroque in style, this house is modern coastal cool with blue shutters, wooden beams, white walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of that view. The two-bedroom setup is ideal for a family, with plenty of outdoor space for little ones to roam, along with a private saltwater pool. The biggest highlight is the prime position on the beach with private direct access straight onto the sand.

Sleeps: 4

Price: $688 per night, or $173 per person per night, seven nights minimum

The only property on this hill near Santa Venerina on Sicily’s east coast, Rocca delle Tre Contrade has some of the most jaw-dropping views on the island—on a clear day, you can see Mount Etna as well as the glittery Ionian from its carefully manicured garden. The house is staffed with a housekeeper and a chef who will pick up the freshest produce from the market for late lunches by the horizon-pushing pool or suppers on the terrace. There are 12 bedrooms and as many bathrooms, with reclaimed furniture and vintage finds beneath triple-height vaulted ceilings. Plus the water is heated with solar panels, and the vegetable garden supplies many of the ingredients used in the kitchen, making this a villa to book for those keen to lessen their ecological footprint.

Sleeps: 24

Price: from $36,642 for a one-week stay, or $1,526 per person for a week

Noto is one of our favorite towns in Sicily, and this renovated house is a brilliant base from which to explore it. Huge glass doors lead from the pastel-hued bedrooms to the rugged garden, where a little pool has panoramic views of the treetops below. Back inside, there’s a farmhouse-style kitchen for long breakfasts of local pastries (pick them up from Caffè Sicilia in town) and strong coffee.

Sleeps: 7

Price: from about $636 per night, or $90 per person per night, seven nights minimum

If you’re travelling with little ones, Sicily’s ornate neoclassical villas, while incredible, aren’t the most family-friendly when it comes to sticky fingers and fragile antique furniture. An ideal alternative is this modern and minimalist house that’s a short drive from San Lorenzo beach. Instead of frescos and chandeliers, Cozzo Coniglio is all clean lines, minimalist decor and block colors—a cheery egg yolk yellow kitchen and a bold olympic blue lounge room. The six bedrooms are washed in breezy white, with two located in the separate guest house, each with their own en suite bathrooms. Just outside, there’s room for the whole crew to gather in the courtyard, with two separate dining tables, beanbag seating, and an inviting turquoise pool.

Sleeps: 12

Price: from $1,326 per night, or $552 per person per night, 5 nights minimum

Not a palazzo, nor a slick modern box, but what this seven bedroom farmhouse lacks in grandeur or minimalism, it makes up for in charm. This is an authentic taste of Sicilian life, at an accessible price (split between 13 people, it works out to around $183 each for the five nights). Home cooks will love the rustic kitchen, well equipped with all the pots and pans you could need to cook a traditional Sicilian pasta dish. There’s the option to have cooking lessons from the host, or have them take care of supper all together by firing up the outdoor pizza oven. For the full experience, serve it in the dining room—the long wooden table seats 10—followed by drinks overlooking the sea from one of the three terraces. The home is surrounded by 123 acres of gardens, with much of the action happening around the swimming pool, lined with loungers and a shaded pool house.

Sleeps: 13

Price: from $648 per night, or $50 per person per night, minimum 5 nights

The southeastern corner is a gorgeous honey-hued part of the island with wonderful countryside and quick day-trip nipping between the ancient artifacts of Syracuse and the wild beaches of Noto, via the world’s best cannoli and ice cream at Caffè Sicilia. This lofty masseria will swallow up families and friends in its cool spaces and shady courtyards. Its meticulously restored cane-vaulted hall is lined with Picasso-style frescoes illustrating Ovid’s Metamorphoses, great for inspiring GCSE revision, and the seven bedrooms are neutral, with lots of knocked-back grays and off-whites. Whip up pizza in the woodburning oven or leave the in-villa cook to it—there are all sorts of pretty tables around the grounds for suppers under the stars before everyone retreats to the cinema room for a late-night movie.

Sleeps: 14

Price: from $13,591 per week, or $970 per person per week

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Rustic charm meets eclectic interiors at this five bedroom villa overlooking the famous Vendicari nature reserve. The serene spot is further enhanced by the beautifully designed garden—all set low with various sculptural cacti and a flourishing meadow. To make the most of the beautiful spot there’s an open-air kitchen with a barbecue, two shaded terraces—one flanked by a serene pond, the other overlooking the infinity pool—and a roof terrace that’s prime for a yoga session at sunset. Inside, there’s a lot to look at, from the supersized picture windows in the sitting room to the artwork adorned checkerboard walls in the hallway, and the classic Sicilian majolica tiles in the bathrooms. Most of the bedrooms have direct access to terraces, as well as TVs and air conditioning.

Sleeps: 9

Price: from $7,288 per night, or $810 per person per night, 5 nights minimum

The Sicilian seaside town of Bagheria was once where Palermo’s high society disappeared for the summer, staying in neoclassical mansions along the coast. Villa Valguarnera is one of these former escapes, now owned by Princess Vittoria Alliata di Villafranca, whose ancestors built it in the 18th century. The piano nobile, or first floor, of the vast building is available to rent—it has its own entrance via an external staircase, and encompasses three frescoed reception rooms, a ballroom, a huge kitchen, and three terraces that overlook the impeccable gardens. The place comes fully staffed with a cook and a butler, and guests can explore the whole house, where Vittoria will regale them with stories of the famous people who have stayed here over the years (Salvador Dalí is likely to be name-checked).

Sleeps: 6

Price: from about $10,590 for a one-week stay (fully staffed), or $252 per person per night

This warm and homely three-bedroom house is ideal for a family stay, especially if you have little ones. The setup includes a bedroom, bathroom, and studio with a double sofa bed on the ground floor. Cots and high chairs can be provided. Parents should make a beeline for the upstairs bedroom with patio doors that open up onto a private balcony—although you don’t even need to get out of bed in order to admire the azure blue views of the Mediterranean. Outside, if you can bear to pull yourself away from the infinity pool, the beaches and charming towns of Capo d’Orlando are a short drive away.

Sleeps: 6

Price: from $4,189 for 7 nights, or $698 per person per week

This article was originally published on Condé Nast Traveller UK.

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