Fantastic for foodies who like good, honest food served on an ancient wooden table – think converted farmhouses, surrounded by hectares of agricultural land producing flavoursome, wholly organic wares including olive oil, cheese, cured meats and full-bodied Sicilian wine. Explore the countryside and get involved in harvesting – from grapes and olives in the autumn to oranges in December or lemons in March. Properties include:
Masseria Mandrascate...for grandeur – from £799 pp
Deep in the Ennese countryside, the Masseria Mandrascate resembles a royal country retreat. A 17th century fortified farm, it’s surrounded by lush green rolling hills and has been carefully restored to provide the luxuries of modern-day comfort whilst preserving the original character of each room (e.g. stay in the old stone stables, or in the “jar” room). Much of the estate – which produces wine, olive oil and traditional bread – is a living museum of Sicilian country life, with a mix of dogs, geese and chickens having the run of the expansive cobbled courtyard. Seven nights’ B&B cost from £799 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick) and car hire.
Casa Migliaca...for gardens (and limoncello) – from £767 pp
Situated at the heart of a 12-hectare estate, Casa Migliaca is a gorgeous farmhouse surrounded by the most beautiful private gardens in scenic Northern Sicily. A specialist producer of organic lemons, Sebastiano teaches how to make zingy Limoncello. There are GPS-led walking trails in the surrounding Madonie Mountains and nearby beaches for sunbathing – or simply relax in one of the snoozy suntraps sequestered among the eucalyptus and jacarandas. Seven nights’ B&B cost from £767 pp (two sharing) including flights (Gatwick) and car hire.
La Foresteria...for gastronomy – from £866 pp
This elegant wine estate lies on a vine-covered hillside with views stretching as far as the Blue Flag beaches of Menfi on the west coast. Tour the winery, learn to cook traditional Sicilian food, participate actively in the grape and olive harvests, hike through three hectares of vines or chill out by the stylish sun terrace and swimming pool. Seven nights’ B&B cost from £866 pp (two sharing) including flights (Gatwick) and car hire.
NEW: Sicilian cookery master classes – unlock the secrets of Sicilian food
Sicily has its roots in an amalgam of cultural heritages. This complexity can be sensed in every part of Sicilian life – even the food. Sample cookery courses, cookery demonstrations, vineyard tours and wine tasting as follows...
Azienda Trinità...real Sicilian food – from £67 pp
Salvatore and Marina lead a five-day cooking course - and selecting garden-fresh fruit and vegetables is as integral to the dishes as seasoning with the right herbs and spices. Make old family recipes such as caponata (an aubergine dish with olives and peppers), watermelon and jasmine sorbet, or tackle sformati – a soufflé-like delicacy. Perfect for foodies who like to get stuck in, seven nights’ B&B cost from £653 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick) and car hire. Single cooking lessons cost from £67 pp; the five-day course is from £244 pp (all two sharing), including ingredients and lunch (with wine) each day.
Complementary cooking courses include the medieval-styled Terraliva, Buccheri – try a free, one-hour cooking course focusing on Sicilian finger food, including arancini and vegetable dumplings. At La Foresteria, observe the chef preparing dinner, free of charge, or embark on a private three-hour lesson from £130 pp.
NEW: Sicilian Wine Trail – a self-drive trip, staying at four different wine estates
Sunvil’s new Sicilian wine trail is a comprehensive yet relaxed tour of some of Sicily’s best wineries. For decades, wine was exported to France; today, Sicilian wine has reinvented itself and produces internationally award-winning vintages. The wine trail showcases the diversity and ingenuity of wine making in this sophisticated, but often overlooked, region. Eight nights on the Sicilian wine trail in April cost from £796 pp (two sharing) including flights (Gatwick), two nights’ B&B accommodation at each wine estate and car hire.
- Cos (Ragusa) – home of the award-winning Cerasuolo di Vittoria (DOCG1), Cos produces wines using a technique revived from Ancient Greek and Roman traditions, where ceramic amphorae are sunk into the earth to keep the wine cool during fermentation.
- Foresteria (Trapani) - a picturesque, family-run winery located in Sambuca di Sicilia in the Valle del Belice on Sicily’s west coast. Participate in the grape harvest and wine making itself.
- Gigliotto (Enna) - home to Nero d’Avola – a native Sicilian grape – Gigliotto is an attractive fortified farmhouse surrounded by acres of vines. The winery has a modern visitor centre - view the entire process, from grape-picking to bottle-corking.
- Murgo (Catania) - located on the slopes of Mount Etna, the rich lava terrain gives a unique character to the wine and spumante (sparkling wine) produced in this region. Stay at the nearby Tenuta San Michele, Santa Venerina, which produces its own DOP2 and IGP3 wines, plus spumante and brandy.
ITALY: Rail you can rely on
Train travel in Italy and Sicily is one of the easiest, most environmentally friendly, economical and enjoyable ways of seeing the country. A long-term supporter of sustainable tourism and green initiatives, Sunvil Discovery encourages travellers planning a multi-centre trip to make use of the country’s excellent rail network.
Venice and Verona – from £747 pp – whether it’s the Venice Carnival, the Verona Opera Festival or just an excuse to get away to two of the world’s most romantic cities, travel from one to the other in just 90 minutes on the rail network. Stay three nights at the typically Venetian Hotel Casa Nicolo Priuli, overlooking the Osmarin Canal and the Canal of the Greeks, followed by a two-night stay at the centrally-located Hotel Guilietta e Romeo, Verona, just 30m from the famous Arena – a beautiful amphitheatre and venue for concerts and operas. Five nights in April cost from £747 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick), B&B accommodation, rail travel and private airport transfers.
Other added features offered by Sunvil Discovery include: Verona Opera and Puccini Music festival tickets; guided city tours; city breaks; fly-drive itineraries;
Ends – 6 March 2012
Notes to editors:
1 DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Denomination of Controlled Origin and Guarantee) – the highest classification of quality for Italian wines.
2 DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin).
3 IGP – Indicazione Geografica Protetta (Protected Geographical Indication).
As a fully-bonded tour operator (ABTA, AITO and ATOL protected), Sunvil Discovery offers full financial security.
Press: For more information, please contact Anthony Sebastian at Travel PR on 020 8891 4440 or email a.sebastian@
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