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SICILIAN TREATS: Festive house-party holidays in Sicily
Swap mince pies and Christmas pudding for 'panettone' and other Sicilian Christmas delicacies and enjoy mild temperatures and a house-party style atmosphere on a Christmas or New Year break in Sicily.
Bookings for holidays (minimum one-week) taken between 15 December and 12 January will receive a free food and wine hamper.
Take time out to explore the real Sicily: visit the magnificent ‘presepi’ (nativity scenes), feast on Sicilian Christmas delicacies such as 'torrone' (nougat), 'buccellati', large round biscuits filled with almonds, pistachios, figs and other dried fruits, and 'cobaita', a sort of nougat made with honey and sesame seeds, and take time out to explore the real Sicily, away from the coast.
Available villas include:
Casalnuovo is the ultimate house-party villa, with eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a large well-equipped kitchen. There is a huge open plan living-room with several seating areas and an open fire, and, in the basement, a games room, with pool table, table tennis and table football. Make your own pizza in the wood-burning pizza oven or take advantage of the many excellent local trattorie in the un-touristy neighbouring medieval villages of Montalbano Elicona and Basicò. The fascinating Graeco-Roman Santuario di Tindari settlement and amphitheatre is nearby or simply enjoy walks, along marked tracks and trails, through the 15-acre estate that surrounds the villa.
One week at Casalnuovo at Christmas and New Year starts at £2900 (sleeps 15) with http://www.soloSicily.com.
Ai Mulini is an 18th century farmhouse close to the village of Polizzi Generosa and the Madonie mountains nature reserve. Visit Isnello where the Night of the Luminari is celebrated with the traditional lighting of large bonfires on 24 December to keep the baby Jesus warm. One week at Christmas or New Year starts at £1150 (sleeps 8) with http://www.soloSicily.com.
Return flights to Palermo start at £180 per person over the Christmas period with Ryanair. soloSicily features villa and apartment accommodation throughout inland and coastal Sicily. For further information, visit http://www.soloSicily.com or tel. 020 7097 1413.