Built in the early 1700's in Mascalucia on the southern slopes of Etna, 15 km from Catania airport, Borgopetra is a villa in an ancient urban setting enclosing an elegant inner court, protected as a historic property. The street, Via Teatro, takes its name from the warehouse which was used as a puppet theater. Transformed into a leisure space with gym and massage rooms, the Theater looks onto a garden of fruit trees surrounding the swimming pool. Gathered around the courtyard like houses on a tiny piazza are four romantic guest apartments. The lava-stone windows look onto orchards and gardens. Special attention is paid to comfort and the quality of sleep. The fascinating furnishings and ornaments testify to a life of travel for work and for pleasure. The owners live on the site: their intimate knowledge of the area make Borgopetra the ideal jumping off spot to explore the stunning sights of Eastern Sicily: Mount Etna, the Ionian sea, Taormina, Catania, Syracuse, Noto, Modica, Ibla.
THE SURROUNDING AREA: To the north Mount Etna, to the south Catania: at 450 metres above sea level on the southern slopes of Etna, Mascalucia is 20 minutes from Fontanarossa (Catania) airport and is an ideal base for excursions: to Europe's highest active volcano, to Catania, to the Ionia coast with delightful small towns (Acicastello, Acitrezza, Acireale) and fishing hamlets or to Taormina. To the south you will be enchanted by the changing landscape, the gleaming limestone of Syracuse, fabulous sights like the necropolis of Pantalica, Noto and Palazzolo Acreide, the splendid beaches of Vendicari or exquisite Marzamemi. Or stray inland to explore the age-old Ragusa countryside as far as Modica and Ibla. We will help you plan your exploration of Eastern Sicly: our house book is full of itineraries, precious addresses and hints.
Distances: Catania airport and town: 15 km; the sea: 15 km; Etna cable car station: 22 km; Taormina: 40 km; Syracuse: 50 km; Noto: 85 km; Piazza Armerina: 100 km; Palermo: 210 km.
MOUNT ETNA: Pindar called it the 'column in the sky', for Maupassant it was “the giant with its necklace of volcanoes', for the townspeople living at its foot it is simply “a muntagna”. With 350 secondary cones Etna covers a huge area .To the north it is powerful, where it meets the Nebrodi and Peloritani ranges. Its eastern flank is fertile, favoured by proximity to the sea. The western side is wild. And to the people of Catania to the south, a cone, Sicily's very own “Fuji”.
Etna is a little “Grand Tour” in itself: lovely wine districts ('Italy's little Burgundy”), small historic towns with lava-stone architectures, hundreds of splendid roads to cruise by car. Try the skiing on Europe's most exotic slopes or feast on the rich bounties of the fertile countryside.
For off-road tours with 4x4, hiking trips, short or long treks on the volcano, (even at night, to watch lava flows), ski mountaineering, cross-country skiing and freeriding we are in contact with specialized agencies.
THE SEA: The basaltic lava coastline of the Cyclops Riviera to the north of Catania is less than 30 minutes drive from here: from Aci Castello through Aci Trezza and Capomulini as far as Acireale.
The Riviera dei Limoni with its rocky shoreline is a favourite with Catanians, hosting tiny seaside towns like Santa Maria La Scala, Santa Tecla, Stazzo and Pozzillo. Further north the rocks give way to sand and the extended beaches of the Fiumefreddo nature reserve. If you prefer amenities and comfort, try the beach resorts beneath Taormina.
The completed motorway to Syracuse and Noto brings the fabulous south east coast within easy travelling distance. Don't miss Marchesa beach near Cassibile and the five inlets of the lovely Vendicari nature reserve south of Noto. Still further south (south of Tunis in fact), at Portopalo, is the windswept beach of Capo Passero and the Isola delle Correnti, the southernmost point in Sicily and the whole of Europe, where the Ionian Sea meets the Mediterranean.
Borgopetra's manor house and holiday apartments are in the historical center of Mascalucia, a small town on Mount Etna's southern slopes, 450 metres above sea level. The location is strategical: 12 km (20 minutes) from Catania, 20 km (25 minutes) from Catania Fontanarossa airport, 40 minutes motorway from Taormina (north) and 50 miunutes motorway from Siracusa (south). The rocky lava stone coast of the Ionian Sea north of Catania, dotted with delightful small towns and fishing villages such as Acicastello, Acitrezza and Acireale, is an easy drive by car.
Via the motorway, completed in 2010, Southeastern Sicily's fascinatng territory is within easy reach: the necropolis of Pantalica, Palazzolo Acreide, the baroque town Noto, the beaches of the Vendicari natural reserve are pleasant day excursions.
From the 18th century until the 1970s, Mascalucia has been a delightful holiday resort for people from Catania escaping the summer heat. The small town expanded in the last 30 years, but the historical center, which dates back to the 18th century, still maintains its atmosphere. The next village - a 10 minutes drive - is Nicolosi, which is already in the Etna Regional Park area. Buildings thin out as you climb up the road and after Nicolosi the woods and black lava expanses of the volcano’s “natural” territory dominate the landscape again. Another 20 minutes on the beautiful scenic road climbing up the southern slopes of the volcano among the black lava fields and you reach the Sapienza Hut, the highest point you can reach by car (1919 meters); here is the station of the cable car driving to the top of Mount Etna.
Etna is easy to explore from Borgopetra. A gigantic territory, splendid and powerful to the north, where it links to the Nebrodi and the Peloritani mountains, gentle on the fertile eastern side, which enjoys the vicinity of the sea, wild on the western side (the one of Bronte and of Admiral Nelson's castle) and a cone, a “Sicilian Fuji”, for the Catanesi living on the southern slopes.
Etna is a little “Grand Tour”. Small voyages range from the beautiful wine county (“Italy’s little Burgundy”, the terroir of red wines nourished by the sun and by the exceptional mineral content of the vulcanic soil) and to the Alcantara gorges (Sicily's grandest canyon) to the north, to lava stone architecture in small towns, from car tourism on hundreds of fascinating roads to the “Grande traversata dell’Etna” (the great Etna crossing: a 5 days/ 80 kilometers trekking), from exotic skiing with a sea view to the gluttonies of an extremely prosperous territory. The Picciolo golf course among Northern Etna's hazelnut trees is 1 hour drive from Borgopetra.
Catania is, quite frankly, a mess, but the 'Pescheria', the fish market, is a must and so is the pleasant stroll in the pedestrian area of the historical center.
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