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Many have been seduced by the lovely countryside and the atmosphere Camilleri conjures up in his Inspector Montalbano books.
Rolling green vistas of carob trees and olive and almond groves, gracefully guarded by lace-like lattices of dry-stone walls, all set against a back drop of African sunsets over the Mediterranean Sea with flocks of sheep grazing in the pastures. The towns and villages brim with Baroque churches and palazzos, basking under a dense light as warm as their own golden stone walls, where gargoyles peer down from the facades, intent on the progress of wondering visitors.
The area also packs quite a punch when it comes to the pleasures of the table with local produce, specialities and delicacies galore, all concocted with the same genuine warmth locals welcome visitors with. The wines have also come into their own in recent years, achieving international reputations thanks to some truly wonderful local strains of grapes that ripen to the perfection in the rich, volcanic soil under the Sicilian sun, tempered by cooling sea breezes.
The Noto Valley is all this and more, and is now a destination for discerning tourists thanks both to its Unesco Word Heritage site status and aforementioned Inspector Montalbano.
And it is in this little slice of paradise that Paolo and Laura, Sicilian by right of adoption, found and founded Casadorata, their ideal “buen retiro” in Donnalucata, a fishing village near Scicli in the province of Ragusa lapped by the Mediterranean sea, which hereabouts bathes of golden beaches.
Their love affair with the understated, timeless beauty of this part of Sicily, further south than Tunisia, where the sun shines all year round and tinges each magnificent sunset in radiant hues of red, orange and pink, left them both determined to abandon Rome and build a new life here in the South.
The result was the enchanting sea view retreat of Casadorata, a gem where informality reigns, where the pace of life is slow and the tempo is relaxed, all the more to savour the deeply satisfying surroundings has time sleeps sweetly by.
Casadorata: holiday home for relaxing stays in nature
Casadorata was originally a farmhouse built over 60 years ago, with its courtyard, outbuildings and a large plot dedicated to growing tomatoes, the predominant crop in this corner of Sicily.
The old farmhouse has now been lovingly renovated with extreme simplicity, privileging both environmental factors and cutting edge technologies, so as to became totally eco-compatible and eco-sustainable.
There are three suites and a “casuzza”, or little cottage. Each has a veranda with a sea view and a private entrance. Guests share the large park, the swimming pool, with an overlooking terrace on the Mediterranean sea, a spacious barbecue area and an orchard.
Scattered here and there about the garden are sheltered conversation corners, ideal for settling down with good book in the shade or enjoying a cosy chat under the stars.
The thing that strikes all visitors here is the place’s simplicity, its homeliness. A home where the keynote is peaceful beauty under the warm rays of the sun over the infinite horizons of the sea.
Just the place for a spot of restful navel-gazing.
Full interview (in Italian) with Laura and Paolo di CasAdorata on Radio 24 News: