“Probably the best villa available for rent in Sicily” may sound like an advert for a famous beer, but when talking about Don Arcangelo all'Olmo (or L'Olmo for short), we could even go so far as to omit the “probably...".
Don Arcangelo all'Olmo, situated on the east coast of Sicily, between Taormina and Catania, is, quite simply, enchanting. With Etna, the highest volcano in Europe, looming behind and only the lush green of the surrounding lemon orchards leading down to the crystalline blue of the sea in front, it would be difficult to ask for a more delightful setting.
Don Arcangelo all'Olmo dates back to the early 1700s when it was one of several farm buildings on a wine-producing estate. At the beginning of the 19th Century it became home to the vineyard’s winery and as such was filled to the ceiling with barrels of aging wine. Only in the 1960s did the vines make way for the fragrant citrus groves.
The present owners, Andrea and Marina, Marquis and Marquess Paterno' Castello di San Giuliano have recently brought the buildings back to life after 100 years in which they lay abandoned.
The main body of the house is distributed over two floors and was built in the mid-19th century by Arcangelo Calanna, an ancestor of Marina, whose family had owned the farm since the 1600s. Years later, after many years spent living around the world, and in particular in South America, Andrea and Marina decided to return to Sicily with their children and to renovate the house.
Evidence of the owners’ exotic travels fill the house in the form of antique furnishings and furniture brought back from distant climes by Andrea, a passionate antiquarian collector.
The old floors, some of which are in characteristic lava stone, the vaulted ceilings and the ceramic tiles from Caltagirone have all been painstakingly recovered and brought back to their former glory.
The skill and the loving care of the restoration has meant that Olmo’s modern comforts (each bedroom has its own spacious en-suite bathroom, for example) blend in seamlessly with the original fabric of the house.
Step outside, however, and you will be equally charmed by the colourful, fragrant gardens whose design harks back to the Arabic belief that gardens should be a place of delight and wonder. None of this would add up to so much, however, if it weren’t for the warm hospitality of the hosts: their welcome ensures that not only do guests feel at home, but also wish it was their home.
More about Don Arcangelo all'Olmo >>
See all villas in the Leopard collection >>