Monaci Delle Terre Nere, bespoke luxury at the foot of Etna
There was a time when the monks of Saint Anne lived at a small cloister on the slopes of Etna, surrounded by orchards and gardens. When Guido Coffa found this beautiful landscape, he immediately felt that he had a perfect location for a luxury boutique hotel in Sicily. He soon transformed the grounds into the Monaci Delle Terre Nere, the Monastery of the Black Land, named for the volcanic soil laid down by Etna over the centuries. Today his gardens and olive groves support the most eco-friendly resort in the island, and the hotel’s infinity pool faces the Mediterranean Sea far above the city of Catania, looking down and out over a wide blue expanse. Vines produce grapes for the region’s award-winning wines, and a children’s playground stands in the warm sunshine near the center of the estate, while Pilates and yoga classes are held during the summer season.
The grounds of the Monaci cover 16 hectares and the facilities of the resort are scattered between a main building and several supporting structures. The main building, designed with a Renaissance brick façade, boasts six of the twenty rooms with the others scattered over a further six properties across the estate, and contains the hotel’s Restaurant, while the infinity pool features a bar. Within the main building, the Monaci holds an excellent reading room and lounge.
A Grand Estate With Room to Breathe
The Monaci offers its guests their choice of twenty rooms. Each room draws its name from the terminology of the local vineries, such as the Suite Dependence Fragrante, or the Suite Fresco, Double Superior Frutatto, and so on. There are several categories of rooms, known as the Classic, Superior, Deluxe, Suite Dependance, Double Deluxe, Double Superior, the Queen Fiore, and the King Elegante. The décor is exquisite, restrained, and modern, with certain accents from an earlier age, such as wooden beams overhead. The Monaci offers luxury accommodations in a rustic setting.
The Old Mountain Gives Life to the Soil
Over the entire region, Mount Etna rears its dark, green head. The local soils have turned out to be some of the best for grapevines in Italy, and the local region around Etna is now recognized as a new power in wine production. The Monaci estates maintains an old wine press on the grounds, where a wonderful breakfast is served in the mornings and where there are daily wines tastings of local varietals, including the Nerello Mascalese Cru, served with delicious, freshly-baked bread and Monaci’s own olive oil, harvested from the trees you pass during the day. Above the Monaci, Etna has been quiet for some time. The path to the the peak of Etna is steep but walkable, and a bespoken tour of the volcano is easy to arrange. The staff can also assist you in creating itineraries and travel plans, and provide you with guides to the local region. The cities of Catania, Taormina, Syracuse, Noto, Marzamemi are all within easy reach, and they are filled with beautiful vistas and historic remains from centuries past.
After you have enjoyed the eastern coast of Sicily, a return to the Monaci is just what you need. The organic Farm and the Herb garden provide a sense of peacefulness. At every sunrise, hot drinks are served. During the day, you have a bespoke choice of activities, from massage to classes in Sicilian cooking, and embroidery. On many nights, films are shown onscreen by poolside. In such a lavishly beautiful setting, among olive trees, vineyards, hillsides and sea views, the true glory of Sicily can be embraced.