Palazzo Hedoné, SICILY
October and early November in Sicily bring a beautiful Indian summer, when the harvested vines turn the landscape burnt orange and red, and the sea remains bathwater-warm. The low-key beaches will be empty (Sicilians swim only in season, between 5 August and 20 August), and Hedoné has a beach house 10 minutes' drive away.
The palazzo is a characterful stone mansion with a quirky collection of garden terraces zigzagging up the rock face. The piano nobile, with its 17th century antiques and harpsichord, drips aristocratic grandeur - in contrast to the simple, cell-like rooms. There is a cinema in a grotto, a slice of a pool with a roof that rolls back in warm weather, and a new alfresco pool on the upper lawn.
To stay here is to get under the skin of this forgotten corner of Sicily and imbibe the sleepy rhythm of the south. Stroll through the cobbled alleyways fo Scicli - a jewel of the Baroque; you will have the place all to yourself.
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