Private gardens and wild flowers of Eastern Sicily

Ficus Elastica at Marchesi di San Giuliano

A leisurely week full of unforgettable experiences in this land as sweet as the power of its nature can turn bitter.

A journey taking in the intimacy of private, hidden gardens along the eastern coast of Sicily in the footsteps of Ettore Paternò who, as a passionate nurseryman, began the movement which drove the great gardens of Sicily in the 1950’s.

From Catania to Noto, to the extreme South of the Sicilian island. 

Day 1

After meeting at the airport we will set off for a stroll in the beautiful Acireale. Here we will pay a visit to Cavalier Pennisi in his centenary garden, which houses the most beautiful reclining phoenix in the whole of Italy as well as being, a place of great refinement and welcoming beauty. We’ll end the day with dinner in the beautiful town of Acireale. After dinner return to our accommodation, La Carrubbazza, a farm dating back to 1700 handed down through generations of the ancient Battiati family, and one of the most beautiful dwellings in Catania.

Day 2

Morning walk with botanical guide on Mount Etna followed by a hearty meal in the mountain Hut Sapienza. On our way back down to Catania we will visit the beautiful garden of Ettore Paternò, passionate nurseryman and landscape gardener of Catania that influenced and guided the gardening scene of Sicily from the 1950s. 

Day 3

In the morning we will visit the beautiful city of Catania. The old town is a baroque monument, with some Saracen memories. Alongside its decadence, it is alive, thriving, full of youth, multiethnic, peaceful, cheerful, and full of hidden treasures.
We will visit the ancient Palazzo Biscari, walk in the famous fishmarket area, taste the local delicacies and end with a visit to the Botanical Garden.

In the afternoon we will climb (by minibus) to Valverde , where our friend Julia with her daughter and daughter-in-law will host us in their beautiful garden overlooking the gulf of Catania – a wonder built on the edge of an ancient volcanic crater, rich in exotic plants but also citrus, with the peculiarity of being a garden made to be really enjoyed every day. This is essentially a family garden and each area is cultivated with joy. We will end the day with a simple but delicious family dinner.

Day 4
Today we will leave to go south where, after an hour by car, we will be catapulted into a completely different reality, in the fabulous world of Princess Miki Borghese at the Biviere, garden built with passion and foresight on the lake reclamation. Today it is an environmentally friendly farm where we shall have the opportunity to discover what lies behind the best organic citrus fruits in Sicily. We will continue our journey to Noto, where we will have the afternoon and evening free to explore, and go shopping.

Day 5
Today we are going to discover the magnificent park of Vendicari. We will walk up to the beach of Calamosche before going to the famous Tonnara. For lunch we’ll have a typical Sicilian lunch at a farmhouse within the Park. In the afternoon we’ll go to the amazing village of Marzamemi before coming back to Noto, passing through its monumental cemetery. 

Day 6

Today we will leave for Ragusa Ibla, where we will walk first to the quarry d’Ispica with a botanical guide, visit the Ibleo garden and have the opportunity to admire the beautiful baroque architecture. We will continue to Modica where we will be guests of the Statella family at Villa Spaccaforno. A rare example of modican elegance, an ancient villa surrounded by an exquisite garden made by Ettore Paternò in the year 2000 and greatly loved by the family who will welcome us for a refreshment. We continue to Sampieri where we will stay for the next two nights.

Day 7
Today we’re giving ourselves a real slow day in Sicilian style. In the morning we will walk in the countryside in the surrounding of our accommodation– among the richest countryside ofwildflowers ever seen. We’ll continue for a pleasant walk along the coast of Sampieri until you reach the abandoned furnace (Montalbano). After lunch we will move to the beautiful Scicli– the true unknown baroque jewel of the Ragusa area, home of the famous police station of Vigata in the TV series of Montalbano, treasure chest of beautiful buildings and quality handicrafts.

Day 8

Today we will leave our beloved southern tip of the island to return to Catania. We will stop in Villasmundo, it can be defined as , without any doubt, the most beautiful garden of Sicily– of the Marquis of San Giuliano. 

You will be accompanied to the airport at 18.00 for the return flights (departure after 19.30)

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