Taormina, the pearl of Sicily, has been winking at the international market and luxury for years. This enchanting seaside resort has become a reference point in the world of high fashion and glamour, perfect for those looking for a chic and exclusive holiday.
It was Bernard Arnault, the French magnate who heads the LVMH - Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton group, now synonymous with elegance and sophistication, who took notice.
The owner of more than 75 high-end brands, Arnault revealed his interest in Taormina back in 2018, acquiring two famous five-star hotels: Villa Sant'Andrea and Timeo Belmond. To this list is added the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace, the location of the second season of the HBO series "The White Lotus", as well as the 2012 show of the iconic Dolce and Gabbana high fashion show. It was this attraction to the Dolce Vita that prompted Arnault, once again, to open a Dior boutique in the Sicilian city in 2022, with unprecedented success.
The chic destination of the stars
It is no coincidence that Taormina has always attracted famous personalities and many celebrities over the years. From Oscar Wilde to Goethe, from Greta Garbo to Ingrid Bergman, there are many names that have walked the picturesque streets of this charming town. The highlight of the place is the Teatro Antico, which for years hosted the prestigious Nastro d'Argento, one of the most important awards in Italian cinema.
For the occasion, many international stars like Harrison Ford and Johnny Depp have enjoyed the marvellous spectacle between sky and sea that this place continues to offer.
Taormina: Sicily's Must-Visit Hotspot 2023
Also in 2023 Taormina is confirmed as one of the most popular destinations of the year. Your must-have trip this summer has been thought through down to the last detail to give you a luxury experience that leaves its mark. During the Tour of Taormina organised by Absolute Sicilia, you will explore this splendid jewel on foot with a private guide, admiring the flower-filled balconies, picturesque corners and breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea surrounding Isola Bella. You will visit the famous Greek Theatre with Mount Etna in the background, and experience the enchantment of Taormina on board a vintage Ape Calesse.
You will stroll through all those places frequented by illustrious personalities, such as Casa Cuseni and the gardens of Villa Caronia. All to fully savour the magic of Taormina and the evocative atmosphere of this unique destination. What better occasion to live a dream?
Echoes of expertise
But Taormina is only one pearl of the great treasure that Sicily has to offer its visitors. This Mediterranean island fascinates with its millennial history, rich culture and extraordinary natural beauty. And the expert, tour guide Franco D'angelo, tells us so. Sicily offers a warm welcome to anyone eager to discover the beauty and richness of this territory.
Inspired by the love of the French for their land, this has led him to spread his love for Sicilian culture and become a passionate tour guide. On his tours, each place is enriched by his many tales that touch on the history, art, scents and unique flavours of Sicily. 'Today, more than before, I believe that a trip to Sicily is not just an ordinary holiday, but above all an experience and an enrichment,' D'Angelo concludes.
A trip to Sicily thus becomes an enriching experience and allows one to immerse oneself in the thousand nuances of a culture that has always been open to the world.
Book your next fairytale trip
There is so much to see in Sicily, a place full of wonders to explore. However, you have to start somewhere, and why not start your adventure right from Taormina? This year could be the perfect opportunity to discover all that this extraordinary destination has to offer.
With Absolute Sicilia, you can make your dream journey come true and discover the enchanting places of this marvellous island.
Click here to find out more about the Tour of Taormina
'There is no flavour without knowledge,' says Arturo Morettino, the founder of the 100% Sicilian artisanal coffee company of the homonymous name.
Love for coffee in the middle of Palermo
In the heart of Palermo, among the streets enveloped in an enchanting atmosphere, there is a place that guards the secrets of true Sicilian coffee. We are talking about the small artisan company Morettino, which has been dedicated to the creation of high quality coffee blends since 1920. Still today, with Andrea and Arturo Morettino the passion for coffee is reflected in the care with which it selects the best raw materials from around the world, but its true mission has gone much further. Morettino embraces sustainability, innovation and the quest for the highest quality, creating an ethical, healthy and eco-friendly product.
Morettino’s experimental plantation
True coffee lovers arriving on Sicilian soil cannot fail to visit Morettino's experimental plantation. An evocative place where passion for coffee merges with love for nature. Here, the producer family has dedicated more than 30 years to experimenting with new techniques of coffee cultivation and processing, creating a unique and original variety of an authentic Sicilian coffee, grown and harvested by hand in the plantation's gardens.
The experimental plantation is a surprising discovery of the local culture, where the art of coffee cultivation blends perfectly with respect for nature and local communities. Walking among the coffee plants, the care and attention devoted to their cultivation stands out; only here can one learn the secrets of coffee processing from bean to cup. But that's not all: this unique experience represents a true immersion in Sicilian culture, amidst intense aromas, evocative landscapes and a contagious passion for excellent product.
We are waiting for you!
If you are looking for an unforgettable holiday and a unique taste experience, Sicily is the ideal place for you. With Absolute Sicilia you can visit the wonderful Sicilian territories, visit Palermo and immerse yourself in its fascinating beauty. And once here, sit at the tables of one of the many open-air cafés to slowly enjoy an authentic Sicilian coffee and finally visit the places that have made its history. Don't miss the opportunity to bring back home the genuine taste of Sicily.
Start planning your trip!
Postcards from Italy, be inspired by the 5 best Sicilian villages
Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is renowned for its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes. The island is famous for its beautiful beaches, but not everyone knows that Sicily is also dotted with picturesque villages that seem to have leaped straight from the pages of a storybook. In this article, we'll take you on a journey through five of the best Sicilian villages, where you can experience the essence of Sicilian life.
Marzamemi, a small fishing village on the southeastern coast of Sicily, is a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. The village's historic center, with its colorful fishermen's houses and narrow streets, transports visitors to a bygone era. Here, you can indulge in the fresh seafood delicacies that the village is famous for; the picturesque Piazza Regina Margherita, surrounded by charming cafés and shops, is the perfect spot to unwind and soak in the Mediterranean sun.
Sambuca di Sicilia
Nestled among the rolling hills of southwestern Sicily, Sambuca di Sicilia is a village of Arab origin with a fascinating history. Its winding streets, lined with Baroque and Arab-Norman architecture, are perfect for leisurely strolls. Sambuca di Sicilia is known for its vibrant artisanal scene, with numerous galleries and workshops showcasing local artisans' work. Be sure to visit the Belvedere Terrace, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and Lake Arancio.
Montalbano Elicona, perched on a hilltop in the province of Messina, is a village steeped in history and legends. The village's crowning glory is its medieval castle, the Castello di Montalbano Elicona, which once served as a residence for the royal family of Aragon. Wander through the labyrinth of cobblestone streets, and you'll come across fascinating architectural gems, such as the Church of Santa Caterina. The surrounding countryside, with its dense woods and meandering rivers, is ideal for hiking and nature walks.
Castiglione di Sicilia
Located in the heart of the Alcantara Valley, Castiglione di Sicilia is a village with a rich wine-making tradition. The village is characterized by its well-preserved medieval architecture and stunning views of Mount Etna, Europe's highest and most active volcano. Explore the narrow streets, visit the Church of San Pietro e Paolo, and stop at a local winery to savor some of Sicily's finest wines. The nearby Alcantara Gorge, with its basaltic rock formations and crystal-clear waters, is a must-visit natural wonder.
Petralia Soprana, one of the highest villages in the Madonie Mountains, offers unparalleled views of the Sicilian landscape. The village is characterized by its narrow streets, ancient stone houses, and many churches. Take a walk along the village's streets, and you'll come across the Church of Santa Maria di Loreto and the beautiful Piazza del Popolo. For nature lovers, the nearby Madonie Regional Natural Park provides ample opportunities for hiking and wildlife spotting.
These five Sicilian villages, each with its own unique charm and allure, offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of Sicily. From the sun-kissed shores of Marzamemi to the misty heights of Petralia Soprana, these villages showcase the island's diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. As you explore their cobblestone streets, sample local delicacies, and immerse yourself in their traditions, you'll undoubtedly be captivated by the magic of Sicily.
So, whether you're planning your next vacation or simply daydreaming about far-off lands, let these postcards from Italy transport you to a world of beauty, enchantment, and wonder. With each village offering a unique and unforgettable experience, there's no better time to discover the charms of Sicily and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Oleato, the olive oil coffee brew is a Sicilian story of success
A tour of Sicily can be an unforgettable experience. The unspoilt nature of the island is fascinating, but the success stories of its cities are even more surprising. One such story stems from a trip to this fascinating island full of surprising influences. During his holiday, cheered by the sea breeze and the typical scents of Trinacria, Starbucks CEO Howard Schults had a vision: a coffee blend with olive oil.
And here is the first Sicilian success story.
'Oleato' is an amazing Arabica blend, enriched with a touch of extra virgin olive oil from the Sicilian countryside. This high quality oil is the fruit of the passion and hard work of the Asaro family, who have been cultivating their passion for four generations.
Asaro is a modern company, but one that continues to use ancient processing techniques. The result is a high quality product that continues to fill Italian tables today.
To this day, Tommaso Asaro produces oil from Nocellara olives from the Belice Valley in his 150 acres of land. His aim has always been to modernize production techniques while respecting them. And from his love for the land comes a product of high value, recognised even abroad.
The encounter between Asaro's Sicilianity and Starbucks' American attitude has created a line of drinks that includes different blends to satisfy all palates. The preview presentation took place at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan, as well as in some Starbucks shops in Italy. In the coming months, different types will be introduced in selected markets around the world, such as the US and Japan.
Sicily is a place of extraordinary beauty and full of potential, where small businesses grow fast with the availability of quality raw materials. The island is home to a multitude of opportunities and in addition to proving to be a safe home for various entrepreneurial activities, it also finds its workhorse in tourism. The various cultural and scenic sites intertwine with each other, leaving the traveller with an indelible memory.
To experience this wide-angle adventure, visit our experiences section; discover the anecdotes of this island and start dreaming even before your arrival.
The second season of The White Lotus is turning out to be a great success, equaling the ratings of the first one: thanks to a great cast, a thrilling storyline but mostly thanks to the wonderful places in which the series is filmed.
The show takes place in the White Lotus Resorts, a fictional luxury hotel chain. After Maui in the first season the showrunners have decided to set the new series in Sicily, at the San Domenico Palace in Taormina.
Sicily's beauty is already world famous, and this new season of the award-winning TV show has renewed its appeal even further. If, after watching the show, you are among the many people who are dreaming of a vacation in Sicily, here is a guide for you to discover all the locations where the series was actually filmed.
Taormina is the queen of luxury tourism in Sicily mostly because of its privileged location on a hill from which you can see both Mount Etna and the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea with the famous Isola Bella. It's not coincidental that most of the scenes in the second season of the White Lotus are filmed there.
Let’s see a more detailed list of all the beauties in Taormina, you may have spot in the show:
- San Domenico Palace, one of the undisputed protagonists of the series is the hotel where the stories of the several characters intertwine, San Domenico Palace is part of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and it was renewed a couple of years ago.
Originally a 14th-century convent turned into a hotel in the 19th century, it has hosted all the famous people who have passed through Taormina, from Oscar Wilde to Audrey Hepburn to Elzabeth Taylor. Guests of the hotel can enjoy an infinity pool overlooking the sea, a Michelin starred restaurant, and a beach club right in front of Isola Bella.
- Ancient Theater, probably the most famous landmark in Taormina, it’s a Greek theater, the second biggest in Sicily after the one in Syracuse, overlooking the sea. It still hosts events and concerts that acquire a magical charm thanks to the beautiful setting.
- Corso Umberto, it’s the vibrant main street of Taormina. It crosses the city and the main square and it’s always crowded with tourists. You’ll find lots of glamorous stores where you can buy exclusive souvenirs.
The city is also in a great position to go exploring Sicily. Starting from Taormina, you can visit both the province of Catania and the province of Messina. That’s exactly what the characters of the White Lotus do to make the most of their stay.
Here’s some examples of day tours that can be taken from Taormina:
- Godfather tour, the film by Francis Ford Coppola made italian-american mafia infamous all over the world. In the Godfather part II Micheal Corleone takes refuge in Sicily where he comes in contact with the culture of his ancestors. The places where the film was shot, like Villa degli Schiavi or bar Vitelli, can still be visited today with organized tours that replay the most iconic scenes.
- Etna Winery tour, the vineyards on the slopes of Etna offer a wide variety of wine tours in which you can try unique wines. The important thing is not to be like the characters in the series who return to the hotel completely drunk.
- Vespa tour, it may be a cliché but Italy is even more beautiful if seen from the back seat of a Vespa. Many tourists, like Tanya in the show, want to feel like Monica Vitti for a day and take a Vespa tour.
The many beach scenes of the White Lotus were filmed in Cefalù. This small town near Palermo is famous for its beach and its Arab-Norman Cathedral, part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The old harbor has appeared in a number of movies and commercials, with its picturesque benches overlooking the sea and the village.
Another UNESCO world heritage, the city of Noto in Eastern Sicily is a gem of baroque architecture. Famous for its churches and the white marble of its streets, Noto is definitely a place worth seeing during your trip to Sicily.
Palermo is the largest city in Sicily and its charm perfectly embodies the many shades of the island. From the local markets to the alleyways of the centers, there are several places to visit in the city. One of the most important is Teatro Massimo, the opera house, the largest in Italy and the third largest in Europe. From the square in front of the theater, you can quickly reach the city's historic center with its dozens of noble palaces and narrow alleys in which it’s easy to get lost.
Another place you can spot in the series is the little-known Villa Tasca, where two of the characters of the series, Hunter and Daphne, spend one night. Villa Tasca was owned by an aristocratic family but today is open to the public, it includes an urban park and it can be rented for private events.
These are just a small part of the astounding places you can visit in Sicily. All you have to do is pack your bags and call Absolute Sicilia!
Sicilian Rhapsody is the first travel web series entirely filmed in Sicily, it offers a unique perspective on the luxury experiences you can have on the Mediterranean island.
Back in 2019, when the web series was realized, we didn’t know yet that the COVID pandemic would turn our world upside down transforming tourism as we knew it.
After three years from its realization, the theme explored by the series, a conscious tourism, far from the mainstream routes, is even more relevant.
The British actor Ashley Hames plays Trevor Walker, a disillusioned travel journalist who leaves the foggy weather of London looking for a trip of pure fun, he instead finds a land rich in culture, history and traditions.
Trevor is chaperoned by the capable guide Lucia, played by Rossella Guarneri, who after a few awkward moments with the British journalist manages to lead him to find authenticity in an unexplored land.
Mr Walker’s tour of Sicily becomes an inward journey to find happiness in small things and the occasion to reckon with his past and the history of his family.
The series is realized by Cinnamon Production, an award winning studio specialized in web series, the director Riccardo Cannella succeeded in creating a delicate story, in which the beautiful Sicilian landscapes provide the perfect setting for the transformational journey of the protagonist.
From the peak of Mount Etna to the alleyways of Palermo, from the Eolian islands to the valleys near Syracuse, what emerges in the series it’s a Sicily far from the stereotypes, where the traveler can have a wide range of experiences that combine luxury and tradition.
Dario Ferrante, CEO of Absolute Sicilia and producer of the series, knows Sicily very well and decided to promote Sicilian Rhapsody as a project of territorial marketing. The series aims to highlight the main aspects of tourism in Sicily, linking them not to advertising but to a compelling narrative that shows Sicily in its entirety. With this operation the island becomes the real protagonist of the show and the international audience will be charmed by this unique land and its infinite possibilities.
The ultimate goal of this engaging road movie is to show everyone that Sicily has nothing to envy to other more celebrated destinations, the island can help travelers like Trevor to see things with fresh eyes and appreciate new discoveries. As the protagonist confesses at the end of his journey “The important thing is not the trip itself, it’s what stays with you afterwards. Even more important is being able to share those beautiful moments with someone”.
We hope that this series will help boost quality tourism in Sicily and promote a different image of the island worldwide.
If you are curious about Sicilian Rhapsody you can watch all the episodes on YouTube.
The year we left has been the most challenging of all. An year of uncertainty which hit travel industry harder than ever.
Although the virus is far from having being defeated, there is a good hope for the near future. Encouraging news on vaccines have boosted hopes for recovery and we all trust – together with the lifting of travel restrictins – it could restore confidence on travelers.
Today, the Sicilian travel industry has reached a very high level of security, from the arrival at the airport to the hotel stay, and it’s ready to host guests at the safest and highest level. The Sicilian Defense we are proud of. We understand restoring traveler confidence is a priority. That’s why we have strongly focused on negotiating flexible conditions. At the same time, being aware that traveler behavior will be influenced by the crisis and changed by new needs, we have created many new experience with a great focus on safety protocols and aiming to reach those people interested to private solutions.
Many great news in Sicily which (thanks to the many new openings, from Palermo to Taormina) is likely to be the Italian Luxury destination of the year. Today, standing still is not an option and we all wish tourism to restart soon. We create dream for dreamers. And beautiful memories for those who only want to keep on dreaming.
So, thank you for the trust and wish – on the behalf of Absolute Sicilia – to see you soon in Sicily.
With warmest wishes,
Dario Ferrante, Ceo, Absolute Sicilia