Zafferana Etnea | Volcanic Design

I haven’t been over to seductive Sicily in a while. From what I hear, this might just be good enough a reason to get back to Italy’s coolest island soon.

A working estate overlooking the eastern coast, around 20km north of Catania, Monaci delle Terre Nere lies on the lower slopes of Mount EtnaVines and olive trees as well as other fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown on the established organic farm.

When he came across it a few years ago, Guido Coffa determined to renovate the abandoned farmhouse with its baroque façade, a listed building dating back to around 1800 set in a dazzling landscape scented with citrus and jasmin between the sea and the volcano. He made restoring it one of the Big Projects of his life, adopting green architectural precepts and preserving the historical features and identity of the manor and its outbuildings.

That’s how Monaci dell Terre Nere became a stunning Relais offering 2 suites and 4 double rooms. Original stonework, rough plaster and striking architectural features are the backdrop for gorgeous contemporary design furnishings and art. Each room has a sea or volcano view, and a balcony or patio giving onto volcanic rock or lush terraced gardens.

Guido, who describes himself as the energy driver behind this boutique farm-stay experience, is justifiably proud of the small restaurant too, located in the main building and opening onto a panoramic terrace. Fresh ingredients from the estate inspire breakfasts and creative meals for hotel guests only, while local wineries exploit the rich volcanic soils to supply some of the best wines on the island.

Tour the farm and take advantage of oil and wine tastings locally, as well as excursions onto the volcano’s upper reaches: by next summer there’ll be a pool to cool off in if/when you get back down.