Agriturismo Tenuta di Roccadia

A country-comfy agriturismo with fab meals halfway between Siracusa and Catania in Carlentini, Sicily

The Agriturismo Tenuta di Roccadia, Sicily
A room at The Agriturismo Tenuta di Roccadia, Sicily
The restaurants at The Agriturismo Tenuta di Roccadia, Sicily
In 1988, local merchant Pietro Vacirca gave up the family clothing business to buy this abandoned 19th-century farm built on the site of a thousand-year-old Cistercian convent halfway between Siracusa and Catania.

"Finding Roccadia was like finding a beautiful woman," said Pietro. "So I got married—for the second time. First my wife, then Roccadia."

In 1993, Pietro opened his farm as an agriturismo offering horseback riding, hiking trails, and twenty guest rooms tucked into long buildings at the top of a slope smothered in flowering vines.

The guest quarters are large, with sturdy wood furnishings and wrought-iron bed frames; six feature lofted sleeping areas built of rough, rustic timbers.

The shared patio offers peek-a-boo views between lemon and lime trees of a valley laced with vineyards, the snowcapped peak of Mt. Etna rising beyond.

The farm's 34 ares of olive and citrus groves, almond and fruit trees, and sheep provide the fresh produce, preserves, liqueurs, honeys, and cheeses. These, along with the chef's morning market haul, go straight back to the kitchen.

The delectable four-course dinner (an extra €17 per person) begins promptly at 8:30pm in the cavernous goldenrod dining room hung with giant old farm implements under a high wood ceiling.

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