Discover the secrets of Southern Sicily’s remarkable cuisine with Chef Silvio and lose yourself among soul-stirring cooking classes, piazzas, palaces and churches in a UNESCO site of Val de Noto. You’ll simply fall in love with Sicily after experiencing the unforgettable tastes and sights of Modica, Ragusa, Scicli and the surrounding area.
Cooking At The Villa
Chef Silvio brings the villa’s kitchen alive with seafood, meats, vegetables and pastries in the traditional style of Southeast Sicily. His specialties are dishes with strong connections to the region’s culture and traditions: baked tuna with anchovy-onion sauce, chicken with fresh local root vegetables and stuffed arancini. Under his kind and patient instruction, you’ll used fresh local herbs and produce throughout the recipes you prepare, including basil, parsley, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, wild onions and fennel, as well as tomatoes, peas, pine nuts, raisins, and citrus and other bounty from the villa’s own off-site gardens. You’ll learn the history of Sicilian cooking and taste local artisan offerings like cheeses, olives, olive oil, breads and muddica (Sicily’s magical seasoned breadcrumbs). In a region famous for red wine, there are an abundance of offerings from local vineyards including the villa’s own winery in nearby Porto Ulisse.
Your first cooking lesson will focus on pasta and dessert. Pasta in the Sicilian style can be prepared many ways – with fresh tomatoes, with fried zucchini flowers, with sardines or with toasted muddica. Desserts include cannoli with ricotta and almond cookies perfumed with another local secret: Fiori di Sicilia, or flowers of Sicily – an extract of citrus and vanilla. In lesson two, Chef Silvio will teach you to prepare starters with vegetables and meats. Lesson three will unveil the inside secrets of two of the region’s most famous stuffed foods: arancini (fried rice balls) and scacce (focaccia rolls). You’ll learn hands on how to pack a variety of tasty treasures – tomatoes, pork, mozzarella, eggs and fresh local peas – inside these gems of casual Sicilian cuisine.
Silvio’s lessons are both hands-on and collaborative. Together you’ll explore the best food of the region and build meals you’ll treasure.
Exploring The Val di Noto
A welcoming buffet of local artisan delights greets you as you arrive for check in on Day One. Relax with a swim or simply some down time as you acclimate to the gentle pace of Southern Sicily, then take in dinner at the villa’s dining room featuring flavorful arancini and a tasting of the villa’s own Nero d’Avola wine.
The second day begins with a typical Sicilian breakfast: Italian coffee, fresh juices, fruit, and artisan pastries and breads with butter and preserves. Properly fortified, you’ll journey to Modica to begin your exploration of the region. First stop: the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto – Modica’s oldest chocolate factory, which uses ancient methods traceable through the Spanish Empire all the way back to the Aztecs, for a demonstration and a tasting. For lunch we’ll visit “Osteria dei Sapori Perduti” (Tavern of the Forgotten Tastes). In the afternoon, you’ll explore the sights of Modica, which like most of this area was completely rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1693 by a new breed of Sicilian architects trained in the sophisticated baroque style popular on the mainland.
Day three begins with a trip to Marzameni and a tasting and tour at one of the region’s most renowned wineries. After a light lunch, explore the historic fishing village before heading back to the hotel for your first cooking lesson. Day four’s destination is Ispica and the ancient Cava Ispica catacombs, then in the afternoon you’ll collaborate with Chef Silvio on a menu for the evening’s gourmet dinner. Enjoy a glass of fruity Cerasuolo or robust Nero d’Avola while you cook.
Ricotta is one of Sicily’s premier contributions to Italian cuisine and five begins with a tasting of artisan ricotta at a local farmhouse. In the afternoon, visit historic Ragusa Ibla and discover world famous ceramics from nearby Caltagirone (Arabic: “Castle of Pottery. In the evening, return for dinner at the villa featuring bounty of the sea cooked in traditional Sicilian fashion. On the final day, explore the village of Scicli with with your own Fiat 500 and a personal driver, then return to the villa for a cooking lesson and a grand final dinner of meat and fish grilled in the Sicilian style.
Palm fronds wave in the breeze as you arrive at the hillside villa, its stonework arches and salmon-colored walls basking in the Sicilian sun. Pausing, you take in the breathtaking view of the Val de Noto from Pozzallo all the way down to Capo Passero at Italy’s southernmost tip.
Founded on the values of respect and passion for the land, this princely villa is run by our traditional family with deep roots Sicilian farming and architecture. Singing birds find refuge in the palm, olive and carob trees that shade the grounds. You can rejuvenate with a refreshing wild strawberry or mandarin granita as you lounge by the magnificent pool and patio. After a day exploring and cooking or a night on the town, relax in your air conditioned room with all the amenities: canopy beds, high ceilings, wifi internet, hair dryers and safes. Free parking, shuttle buses, maid service and full room service are at your disposal.
Itinerary ~ 7 Days, 6 Nights
Day One: Check In & Welcome Dinner
- Arrive at the villa, check, in and enjoy a glass of wine and a welcome buffet of local artisan delights.
- Relax or take a swim in the villa pool.
- Enjoy your Welcome Dinner prepared by Chef Silvio which will include local specialties like Arancini and Focacce. Tasting of the villa’s own Nero d’ Avola wine included.
Day Two: Ancient Chocolate In Modica
- Start with a classic Italian breakfast.
- Journey off to Modica, stopping first at the town’s oldest chocolate factory for a tour, a demonstration and an unforgettable tasting.
- Enjoy lunch at a traditional osteria known as “The Tavern of the Forgotten Tastes.”
- Spend the afternoon exploring Modica’s sights and views, including panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside and breathtaking Sicilian Baroque architecture.
- Return to the villa for a light dinner and a relaxing evening.
Day Three: Wine Tasting & Cooking Class 1
- After a full Italian breakfast, travel to Marzameni to explore the sights of this ancient seaside village and learn the secrets of capturing the rich bounty of the ocean.
- Visit a renowned local winery for a tour and a lunchtime tasting with wine and local artisan bread, sausages and cheeses.
- In the afternoon, head into the villa’s kitchen for Cooking Class 1 with Chef Silvio.
- Collaborate on a menu of regional favorites for a spectacular dinner in the villa.
Day Four: Ispica & Cooking Class 2
- Travel to Ispica after breakfast and marvel at its distinctive Liberty Style architecture and mysterious catacombs.
- Return to the villa for a light lunch and relaxation.
- In the afternoon it’s into the kitchen for Cooking Class 2 where you’ll learn more secrets of Sicilian cuisine, enjoying a glass of fruity Cerasuolo or robust Nero d’Avola as you prepare the evening’s dinner feast.
- Enjoy the sumptuous meal you’ve created and then relax at the villa or explore the local nightlife.
Day 5: Ragusa Ibla & The Secret of Ricotta
- Begin the day with a satisfying Italian breakfast.
- Journey to a local farmhouse to learn the secrets of artisan Ricotta-making, followed by a tasting and delicious lunch.
- In the afternoon, visit Ragusa Ibla to see the sights and discover the world-famous pottery from the artisans of Caltagirone.
- Return to the villa for a magnificent meal of seafood prepared in traditional Sicilian fashion.
Day 6: Guided Tour Of Scicli
- After breakfast, meet your personal driver in front of the villa and be ferried to the scenic village of Scicli in a smart little Fiat 500.
- Enjoy lunch, relaxation and maybe a spa treatment (not included) at the famous Donnalucata hotel and resort.
- Return to the villa for an unparalleled final dinner of surf and turf Sicilian style – grilled meats and fish prepared in the local fashion.
Day 7: Homeward Bound
- Enjoy a lovely breakfast and bask in the unforgettable tastes, smells, sights and experiences of your visit.
- Check out and buon viaggio!
*Note: This schedule may vary due to inclement weather, saint days or festivals. All activities, in the event of rescheduling, are always included during the program.
- 7 days, 6 nights accommodations, based on double occupancy.
- Daily breakfast
- 2 hands-on cooking lessons with Chef Silvio, with dinner following.
- 3 guided tours and tastings (chocolate, ricotta, winery)
- 5 lunches at the villa, local trattorias or on your specialty tours
- 4 special dinners at the villa
- 3 guided sightseeing adventures (Marzameni, Ispica, Ragusa Ibla)
- 1 driver-led tour in a Fiat 500
- Complimentary parking.
- Use of the villa swimming pool and other amenities
$2,195 per person, based on double occupancy in Double Room. All taxes and Italian VAT included.
$2,595 per person, based on single occupancy in Double Room, based on minimum 2 people participating. All taxes and Italian VAT included.
*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.