Lovely Sicilian Oasis
We returned last night from a glorious week in your wonderful villa. We all wrote our thoughts in the guest book, but I wanted to be sure that you knew just how much our two families cherished our stay. The photographs of Santa Maria on the web site are great, but the actual experience of staying there was even more magical. We had spent a wonderful but hectic week in Rome prior, and Sicily and Santa Maria were a perfect respite from city life.
We especially appreciated your thorough directions and advice in the pre-arrival documents as well as the "Villa Bible", which was indispensable. We managed to take trips to Selinunte, Eraclea Minoa (our favorite beach by far), Segesta, and Agrigento all in one week. The layout of the house suited our group so perfectly -- the common rooms truly provided boisterous family meal time and the bedrooms afforded perfect privacy. The weather turned quite hot (100 Fahrenheit most days), so the pool was a lifesaver. We are all avid cooks, and the kitchen allowed us to take advantage of the local produce and fish. And as a designer and artist, I wanted to add just how much I admired your choices of color and interior decor throughout the house. And we all had fun perusing and admiring your fantastic library!
Please thank Nanette for us, too. She was very open and helpful.
Los Angeles, California, USA
Owner's Response: Anna and her family had come all the way from California to stay at Santa Maria,
so it is very gratifying to know that our villa exceeded their expectations.
I was pleased to hear that this group of guests were keen on exploring and managed to see so many of Sicily’s beautiful Greek temples and lovely beaches in one week. They even discovered a wonderful restaurant that we didn't know about and which I will certainly recommend to future guests.
Many of our guests comment on the layout and colour schemes at Santa Maria.
The large rooms and thick walls are typical of a traditional Sicilian farmhouse, locally known as a “baglio”. Originally the ground floor of Santa Maria was used for storage of grain.
Then Marcello’s grandfather, who bought it over a hundred years ago, converted it into a family residence, opening up granary stores into living spaces. However some parts were left as storage facilities.
When Marcello and I renovated the ground floor in 1999, we were determined to keep the living area as Marcello’s grandfather had designed it. We had to make some changes to the remaining storage rooms to accommodate bedrooms and bathrooms. This is where my would-be interior designer ambition came into play. It was fun painting the house in a myriad of colours, actually against the advice of my architect, brother-in-law, who would have liked to see it covered in celibate monastic white. But I think my passion for colour paid off. Well most of our guests seem to like it anyway.
Yes, the rooms are large and whenever we go and stay there, I revel in the sheer space, not to mention the privacy it affords. I am someone who needs to get away and be on my own from time to time, and this is why I love being at Santa Maria. There are separate rooms for watching television, reading in the library, eating and socialising, not to mention the gardens - orange grove, swimming pool garden and the formal gardens in front of the villa.
From the photographs Anna, sent me I can see that she, her friends and family are enthusiastic and accomplished cooks. The kitchen at Santa Maria is extremely well equipped so I'm sure they will have appreciated that.
All in all, Santa Maria is a wonderful base from which to explore Western Sicily, but also to enjoy the company of friends, and at the same time to get away from it all, read and relax.
It is just great to have a review from guests from the United States and I hope this will encourage more of you to come and visit.
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