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Monaci Delle Terre Nere: Sicily's Peachy-Hued Hideaway

This peachy-hued mansion in the foothills of Mount Etna is a secret hideaway with sustainability at its heart, favoured by a well-heeled set who come for a romantic break. 

The hotel focuses on preserving and rejuvenating the land, embodying slow living, from the homegrown food that fills its menus to the 90 per cent reliance on solar power (they’re aiming for 100 per cent).

The Vibe

While many holidaymakers flock to beachfront hotels in pursuit of sand, a sun tan and an Aperol spritz, it’s a different type of clientele who choose an eco wine resort set on a 16-hectare farm in the foothills of Mount Etna. A truly special place, Monaci delle Terre Nere fosters a strong sense of community while simultaneously affording guests complete privacy thanks to rooms scattered across an expansive plot latticed by vines.

The owners mill about chatting to guests, cheerful staff tend to vegetable gardens, and over 100 hens lay eggs for breakfast and homemade pasta. But that doesn’t mean that this is some sort of earthy agriturismo where you’re expected to get your hands dirty and use a compost toilet – far from it. Expect design-led interiors, second-to-none service and a stellar restaurant offering. It’s a seriously impressive blueprint for other high-end hotels that claim to have sustainability at their core.

The Rooms

Dotted around the farm and most with their own plunge pool, each room carefully blends rustic charm with modern design elements. Ancient wooden beams, rugged lava-stone walls and colossal log-burning stoves (complete with towering steel flues) are juxtaposed with expansive floor-to-ceiling glass windows that bathe the space in natural light. Architectural lighting accents the scene, and eccentric artwork adds further flair.

While the term “unique” is often bandied about, it genuinely applies to every room at Monaci. Some exude a timeless, traditional allure, while others push the boundaries of avant-garde design. A select few transport you to the grandeur of a Sicilian palazzo, while elsewhere, the line between indoors and outdoors is seamlessly blurred. 

The Food + Drink

Start the day with a bountiful breakfast buffet of organic produce in the hotel’s tiered garden. Expect jewel-coloured fruits, nutty cheeses, marbled charcuterie, flaky pastries and stonkingly good Italian coffee. Lunch should be a plate of pasta or risotto, lingered over at the pretty collection of al fresco tables with views of the hotel pool, the Med glittering in the distance. Serving up the best of Sicily, it’s all seasonal and much is plucked straight from the garden.

Come dinner, Locanda Nerello is a more upmarket affair, though the menu still reflects the resort’s eco-bio ethos. Expect the likes of gnocchi with mussels, albacore tartare, black-pig belly and Sicilian-style rabbit, followed by cannoli or a cheeseboard featuring five types of local honey. Needless to say, you can’t go too far wrong here – it’s all delicious, and staff are on hand to guide you through the list of Etna wines, many Monaci’s own. For special occasions, there’s a private dining room in the well-turned-wine cellar. Appetite satiated, make tracks to the super-sexy bar. With double-height ceilings, mid-century furniture and a vertiginous log burner, this is a place to settle into until the early hours: cocktails are as seductive as the surroundings, and live-music nights make it a party.

The Little Extras

Pisano. Monaci delle Terre Nere

The hotel offers a poolside bar for daytime refreshments while your room also has a well-stocked minibar with standard-sized wine bottles and a basket of local snacks. We particularly like the fresh fruit bowl, refilled with produce from the garden.

The To-Do List

While there are no major attractions within walking distance due to the undulating terrain, a leisurely stroll through the village surroundings is a fantastic way to digest a hearty lunch. The seaside town of Taormina is a short drive away, where Romano-Greco architecture is interspersed with buzzy restaurants and shops, all jostling for space alongside several local beaches. Within the hotel, there’s plenty to entertain, including wine and olive oil tastings, cooking and cocktail classes, bike tours and in-room massages. Looking to take luxe to new heights? Book a helicopter tour to spin you over the smoking crater of Mount Etna. 

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