About the property
- Villa3229 sq. ft.
- Half Baths1
- Minimum Stay4 - 7 nights
Ground floor 3 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms, sleeps 6 to 8 plus pool and tennis court
Villa Santa Maria is a historic 17th century Sicilian farmhouse with its own private swimming pool and tennis court. This unique castellated building is flanked by circular towers on each side. We rent out the beautifully decorated ground floor, which is extremely spacious and can sleep up to 8 people. Guests can relax in the pool for their exclusive use or enjoy the surrounding exotic Mediterranean garden from the shade of an ancient olive tree. The pool measures 12 x 6 metres, has steps into the shallow end and is lined with mosaic. When the temperature drops the tennis court flanked by formal gardens in front of the villa provides fun for all the family. Three acres of grounds bordered by cypress and Mediterranean pines also include olive groves and a 16th century watch tower.
The ground floor is completely private and comes with its own magical Sicilian walled citrus garden.
The accommodation is extremely spacious and includes a library and separate television room
Santa Maria: You enter Santa Maria through a beautiful driveway lined with date palms and bougainvillea. A massive door leads into a pretty courtyard with porticoes and statuary and a marble well in the centre. The whole villa is an oasis of peace and quiet, shaded by lofty palms, cypress trees and pines. The spacious ground floor, recently restored to a high standard of luxury, is completely private. the dining room with fireplace opens onto a walled garden with 100 citrus trees, a splashing fountain that attracts a wide variety of birds and a paved terrace where guests can dine under the orange and lemon trees. The private swimming pool is set in a Mediterranean garden lovingly planted by the present owners. Bougainvillea, oleander, frangipani, datura, jasmine, hibiscus and lavender are just some of the plants that flower through the summer months.
The co-owners of the property, (English speaking) who live on the top floor of the villa, are available for help and advice. The entrance to their apartment is from the main courtyard and separate from the ground floor.
If you would like to find out more about Santa Maria, you may read 'Casa Nostra, A Home in Sicily' by Caroline Seller Manzo. Published in the US by Harper Collins, it can be ordered online. Please email Caroline for further details.
Mazara del Vallo: Mazara,Italy’s major fishing port, has a charming promenade lined with palm trees and three piazzas in the historic centre graced with beautiful baroque churches and civic buildings - even the remains of a Norman castle. Don't miss the beautiful bronze statue of a dancing satyr, a masterpiece of Greek art housed in a dedicated museum.
Mazara offers a wide range of shops and excellent restaurants, where you can savour the freshest seafood and fish, not to mention the delights of Sicilian traditional fare from fish couscous to the mouth-watering delicacies of cassata and cannoli.
There is a long and beautiful coastline with both sandy beaches and rocky coves where the sea is exceptionally limpid. In July and August the beach of Tonnarella offers the facilities of bars with deckchairs and beach umbrellas to rent.
The famous nature reserve of the Zingaro is an added attraction. For more information and photos of the surroundings to the villa, do email us for our website address.
Sightseeing: The ancient Greek city of Selinunte overlooking the sea is a 30 minute drive away. After exploring the ruins go down to the nearby beach of Marinella, cool off in the sea and feast on delicious local fish at one of the seaside 'trattorie'. Half an hour in the other direction is the mysterious temple of Segesta high up on a hill overlooking the valley. Nearby is the ancient Greek theatre. In 20 minutes you can reach Marsala famous for wine, and don't miss the Punic Ship on display at the museum. Just beyond Marsala is the lagoon with its saltpans and windmills. Visit the fascinating island of Mozia, once a Phoenician colony, and see the Punic remains, the museum and the beautiful Greek statue of a young boy. The medieval hilltop town of Erice with its Norman castle, site of an ancient temple of Venus, is an hour's drive from Mazara. From Trapani or Marsala you can reach the lovely Egades islands. The exotic capital, Palermo, and the Vale of Temples, Agrigento are easy day trips.
- Response rate:
- Response time:
- within a few hours
- english, spanish, portuguese, italian
- Calendar last updated:
- May 18, 2018
Marcello and Caroline are the proud owners of the ground floor of Santa Maria, a seventeenth century castle in western Sicily. Having met in London at a Halloween party, we have been together for over 40 years. Thanks to Marcello's career in an international pharmaceutical company, we have lived in various countries in South America and the Far East whilst bringing up our two daughters. While Santa Maria has been in Marcello’s family for over a century, it was at first the base of the family wine business. Then it became his parents’ home, which we and our two daughters would visit every year while we were based abroad. Twenty years ago Marcello inherited a part of the estate and we decided to convert the ground floor as our own holiday home. Respecting the villa’s three hundred years of history, we carried out a complete restoration, even discovering a seventeenth century archway in the process. Caroline’s interest in decorating is reflected in the attention to colour evident throughout. The property is now furnished with items inherited from our family and gathered from our travels around the world. Having completed the interior, we turned our attention to the grounds. We revived the walled orange garden, restored the old tennis court, planted an olive grove and added a beautiful swimming pool set within a Mediterranean garden. Meanwhile Caroline was writing her book about the villa, Casa Nostra, A Home in Sicily, based on her experience of family life in Sicily and the local culture and traditions. The book was published by Harper Collins in 2007. Santa Maria is so beautiful and so special to us that we now come here several times a year, sometimes with our children and grandchildren, but also for the olive harvest. Both our daughters chose to celebrate their weddings here. Since we now spend much of our time in London, we are happy to share our holiday home with other guests.
Caroline purchased this Villa in 1910
Why Caroline chose Mazara del Vallo
Santa Maria has a special place in our lives. Having lived in different countries about the world, we have always been back to the villa in Sicily, regarding it as a cornerstone in our lives. Marcello has an extended family based locally and many friends dating back to his childhood. Caroline has got to know the town and its history very well for the purpose of research for her book and is fascinated by many aspects of Sicilian culture. It is an amazing experience to live or stay in a villa so steeped in history. Although records go back as far as the 18th century, the building itself is at least 100 years older. The watchtower in the grounds bears an inscription with the name of the architect and the date:1584. Most probably the building once belonged to the Church and may have been a commanderie for the Knights of Malta. Anyone with an interest in history and Mediterranean culture cannot resist the fascination of this Sicilan castle surrounded by lush gardens, olive groves and vineyards, now with its own swimming pool and renovated tennis court.
Pool / Spa
Local Services & Businesses
Sports & Adventure Activities
Check-in: 4:00 PM
Check-out: 10:00 AM
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date. You must contact the owner directly to request cancellation.
Heavenly, happy, family holiday in unspoilt Sicily
We had such a happy week in this amazing place. The apartment was so spacious and cool (a wonderful escape from the August heat). The gardens were beautiful and well kept. Our favourite thing was to sit outside in the orange grove in the evening, light a barbecue and cook fresh prawns and sip a glass of Sicilian wine, listening to the chittering of the cicadas. Our two girls aged 3 and 6 loved the swimming pool, learning to swim and dive for the first time. We enjoyed trips to the local restaurants and sights including Mazara del Vallo, Erice, Selinunte and Porto Palo. This part of Sicily is breath of fresh air, unspoilt and thankfully not geared towards mass tourism. Nanette who lives upstairs looked after us beautifully, recommending places to visit, beaches to swim, and restaurants to visit . Couldn't recommend it more highly for a week of fun, food and a bit of culture on the side.
We are very glad that this family had such a lovely holiday at Santa Maria. They took advantage of the privacy and calm of the grounds, both the walled orange grove for al fresco dining and the private pool with its Mediterranean garden, but also managed to find time to visit some of Western Sicily's world famous attractions, such as the Greek temples of Selinunte and the medieval hilltop town of Erice. And our guest is right, this part of Sicily especially Mazara del Vallo is still unspoilt by mass tourism, despite the wealth of architectural attractions, not to mention the very high standard of cuisine in local restaurants.
Stunning Santa Maria
Our experience at Santa Maria was breathtaking.
Upon arrival we were in awe of the impressive stone building, we passed through the beautiful courtyard and into the Santa Maria villa itself - which was absolutely stunning in every way possible.
Nanette, our host was on hand to welcome us to the villa, she was most helpful throughout our stay.
We spent our days in the Italian sunshine lounging by the superb pool, surrounded by the heavenly gardens. We sampled the local delights; eating scrumptious gelato in the town and visited the neighbours (The Gazzerosse Vineyard).
Our time at Santa Maria was absolutely perfect - a dream come true.
I agree that the entrance to Santa Maria with its castellation and circular towers is quite daunting, built as it was to resist attacks from marauding brigands
However the villa itself is extremely comfortable as all our guests will find.
The weather has been wonderful in August this year, hot but not too hot and the gardens around the swimming pool are looking glorious.
I am very glad that this family appreciated the villa, pool and gardens so much.
They did well to take advantage of one of the many local vineyards and frequent the ice cream parlours in Mazara. For those who have yet to visit, i should say that the wine from this region is outstanding, especially that made from the white Grillo grape, while the ice cream is simply the very best. After all it was the Sicilians who invented ice cream in the first place!
I do hope this family returns to Santa Maria one day.
A very special place to rent for a holiday!
We all loved staying in Santa Maria - the accommodation is part of a very special family house - completely private with sole use of a fabulous swimming pool and lovely tennis court (once the sun has gone down!). We saw some of the sites of Western Sicily including Selinunte, Segesta, Sciacca & Marsala, along with the odd very lovely restaurant - but on the whole we so enjoyed the return to Santa Maria and its peaceful surroundings - so beautiful and constantly gave us the feeling of getting away from it all. I hope one day we will return.
So glad this family enjoyed their two week stay at Santa Maria. The gardens around he swimming pool are now mature and at their very best in summer with hibiscus, oleander and frangipane all in flower. The tennis court is always a hit with families like this one with teenagers and younger. And of course there is so much to see in our corner of Sicily and this family clearly did some exploring. We hope they will come back to Santa Maria agin one day.
Wonderful week in a glorious Scicilian villa
The villa was perfect for us , a family of seven - 3 young adults and partners and the older parents.The villa was beautiful , spacious airy rooms which kept cool in the heat of the day. We spent our rest days at home ( after very active ones seeing the amazing sights ).Long breakfasts in the garden with refreshing lemon juice made with lemons from the garden . Keeping cool in the pool and sitting under the trees beside it. In the evening when it was cool enough , there were tennis matches. The gardens, villa, pool were all lovingly looked after and very beautiful. The kitchen was very well equipped which meant we could have some amazing food at home. We were very welcomed by the owner's sister in law who lives on the top floor of the castle. She was always on hand to help. We had a fantastic week and this amazing place is highly recommended by all of us.
I'm so glad that this family enjoyed their stay at Santa Maria. They are right - there are so many splendid sights to see in the neighbourhood from the baroque centre of Mazara itself to the Greek temples of Segesta and Selinunte. They made the most of their time here with sightseeing in the morning, relaxing by the pool in the afternoon and tennis matches early evening.
The gardens are looking particularly good this year as we made a special effort in preparation for a family wedding in June. We pride ourselves on a well equipped kitchen as we are enthusiastic cooks ourselves.
We also love to barbecue and have now provided two barbecues for the villa.
I do hope this family will come back to Santa Maria one day.
Wonderful property, great facilities & hospitality
We were a family of 6 adults, mum & dad plus 4 in their twenties.
The property is large, secluded and with lots of facilities.
It allowed outdoors activity of tennis, swimming and running, as well as lots of opportunity to relax. There was plenty of space to get some independence yet large communal areas for games and dinner. The kitchen and utility areas are large and fully stocked.
Wi-fi worked well, and there was TV but also board games and books.
Location is outside of town, so make sure you have the full address and directions.
There are very helpful owners family members on hand if you need anything.
The property is well placed for all main west coast of Sicily attractions.
A car is a requirement.
Overall a great place for a family to relax and explore Sicily.
We are very glad that this family enjoyed the facilities and abundance of space at Santa Maria. We have always found that groups of different age ranges and interests benefit from the spaciousness of the villa giving them the opportunity to spread out. Indoors there is a library and a television room in addition to the living room while the grounds include not only a large Mediterranean garden around the swimming pool but also a walled orange grove, not to mention formal gardens flanking the tennis court.
As this guest mentions, the villa is within easy driving distance of many of Sicily's most important historical sites, including Selinunte, Segesta, Mozia, Erice and Palermo.
A gem of a property...beautiful home and grounds
A wonderful stay in Santa Maria...
Fabulous villa, pool, tennis court and gardens. While there are family members living above we had complete privacy. The villa was presented as described and very clean and well maintained. Any problems were resolved quickly by the on site managers of the property living above. It is hard to leave the villa but great sightseeing to be had in Western Sicily ... For historical sightseeing Selinunte is a must with well preserved Greek ruins against a coastal backdrop. The north west coastline for breathtaking scenery and fabulous beaches and the national park...Castellamare was our particular favourite ancient coastal town and the nearby picturesque hamlet of Scopello with stunning views and great swimming. We would thoroughly recommend Santa Maria as the perfect relaxing retreat in an ideal spot for sightseeing.
I agree with this guest that Santa Maria is a perfect place to relax with its lovely pool, tennis court and lush gardens. Within easy reach of the motorway it is well placed for sightseeing. The magnificent Greek site of Selinunte is close by and the sea can be reached within minutes. These guests particularly enjoyed the north west coast off where they hired a boat at Castellamare and enjoyed the views of the Zingaro nature reserve from the sea.
We are fortunate to have my sister-in-law on hand to welcome guests and offer any help or advice they require.
Santa Maria is in the heart of the country of western Sicily, so the only noise you will hear is birdsong, particularly the resident hoopoe bird. The landscape is one of vineyards and olive groves, which stretch out as far as the eye can see to gently rolling hills in the distance. However the villa is not isolated. There are neighbours within walking distance and the nearest town, Mazara del Vallo, is only three miles away. This country villa is also near lovely beaches such as Tonnarella and Marinella. Excellent for sightseeing, Santa maria is just a short drive away from some of the most fascinating sites in Sicily: the Greek temples of Selinunte and Segesta, the medieval hilltop town of Erice and the Punic island, Mozia, not to mention Palermo the maginifient capital of the island. Access to the motorway from Santa Maria is excellent and Palermo can be reached in just over an hour. Ryanair, Easyjet and Alitalia all run flights to Palermo or Trapani airports.
Other Activities: kite surf and windsurfing
Rates & Availability
Additional information about rental rates
The villa is ideal for 6 people but 2 more people can be accommodated on extra beds in the study or television room at the cost of £100 per person, per week. We can also supply 2 cots for infants without extra charge. There is an extra charge if central heating is used. No charge for air conditioning.