In May, Sicily averages nine hours of sunshine a day, temperatures in the mid-20s and beach populations hovering just above zero - the locals are at work, the visitors haven't yet arrived. Apart from you.... And Sicilians get their culture in before the tourist season, too. On the weekend of May 14-15, one of the great unsung festivals graces grand baroque Noto. The Infiorata sees local artists carpet the Via Nicolaci with a mosaic of flower petals, in a labour of that has to be seen (and smelt) to be believed. Think Sicily (020 7277 8515, thinksicily.com) offers the I Lentischi villa, a few miles outside Noto and close to the sandy beach at Vendicari. It's minimal cool with a pool, and costs £2,584.