Sicily has everything. From archeological sites and mountain villages to islands, volcanoes and excellent food and wine. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sicily is a continent and there is much to discover with every visit.
While the Sicilian coast steals the show with famous destinations like Taormina and Cefalù, this is where the island’s greatest untapped potential lies Entroterra: The interior. Sicily’s tranquil interior is dotted with small towns with pretty piazzas dotted with ornate churches, and the vast countryside is largely untouched by tourism. With a rich agricultural heritage, a journey across the hills and valleys promises to delight visitors looking for authenticity Sicilian cuisine.
A stone’s throw from the bustling streets of Palermo and the Madonie Mountains, the area around Regaleali doesn’t have a specific name, although it could be described as the golden fields of Italy. Every summer, carpets of wheat fields cover the hills that stretch far into the horizon like a mirage. The landscape is picturesque and golden yellow; it is similar to the Val d’Orcia but wilder. Bales of hay can be seen in the distance while oversized cacti and oleanders burst out at the side of the road.
Time stands still here like sand dunes. This area was once known as granaio – the breadbasket of Italy because its wheat wealth fed the country in the 1920s. The land is still fertile and still produces excellent products today. This is the land where the nobles Tasca d’Almerita The family acquired their first winery in 1830 and established themselves as one of the most important winegrowing companies in Sicily.
As soon as you enter Tenuta Regaleali, you know you have arrived at a historical place. For 8 generations and almost 200 years, the Tasca d’Almerita family has led Sicilian agriculture and winemaking through passion, innovation and perseverance. The estate’s flagship wine, Rosso del Conte, made from native Nero d’Avola and Perricone grapes, was the first single vineyard wine produced in Sicily. Conte Lucio Tasca d’Almerita, who sadly passed away in July, was the first to introduce international grape varieties to Sicily and open the island to a global audience.
Spread over 600 hectares with 12 different soil types producing 18 wines, Tenuta Regaleali has long been a mecca for wine lovers. And staying overnight is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the scenery and lifestyle. Hospitality has always been part of Tasca d’Almerita’s DNA, and illustrious guests such as Gioacchino Rossini, Richard Wagner and Jacqueline Kennedy have stayed at the Regaleali. That sense of family hospitality is still present on the property where you will feel like a guest of the household rather than a visitor.
The operation is more personal than commercial: The property has just a few freestanding villas and a handful of bedrooms, set in a central stone courtyard surrounding a giant magnolia tree. Rooms feature vintage furniture and beds with embroidered family linens. Lunch and dinner are included during your stay and are served family style in the villa’s living room, where you can meet the estate manager and oenologist over a glass of wine and a plate of pasta.
You can hike through the vineyards, bike around the estate and take part in guided wine tastings. A few miles down the road, the Anna Tasca Lanza cooking school also offers cooking classes inspired by the Sicilian “monsù” tradition, teaching the historical recipes of the island’s aristocratic families.
Nearby, susafa is a newer establishment in the area, but one with old roots. A historical one massage converted into a rural boutique hotel, reflects Tenuta Regaleali’s mission to preserve Sicily’s authenticity and promote its identity. The two properties are collaborating on pop-up events such as B. a summer concert series, which is held in their “Sea of Wheat”. This July, Peter Pavlov, first viola of La Fenice di Venezia, and Alexandra Pavlova, an internationally renowned pianist, performed an outdoor concert overlooking the golden hills while guests sipped on a selection of Tasca d’Almerita wines.
For those who want to get off the grid and experience the slow-paced, southern Italian lifestyle, the heart of Sicily promises to refresh and inspire.