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Review 4428: Owner, House fo Camellia (#35534)


Review by azwaniecki from MD

2bed/1bath house near Acireale, Sicily

House of Camellia's terrace under the camellia tree., photo by Zygmunt Barczyk


May 2009, 1 week


The House of Camellia is a rare find in Sicily. It is beautifully located in a quite secluded place among citrus groves with Mount Etna in the background, yet it makes a perfect base for visiting the most interesting and beautiful places in eastern Sicily – Taormina, Savoca (where Coppola shot part of Godfather 2), Acireale, Aci Terazza (still an authentic fishing village) and the Park of Etna -- all within 30-45 minutes (Acireale being the closest.) Roughly two-hour (one way) trips will get you to striking beauties of the baroque cities of Noto and Ragusa Ibla. There is a beach nearby (about 15-minute drive) but we never visited it.

We were two couples staying at the house and traveled to all the destinations above. But then we had regrets. We thought we should have spent more time just sitting on the terrace under the camellia tree and soaking in serene scenery. If you meditate or seek peacefulness that’s the place to be. At the end of our stay, Cinzia, a charming owner of the house who speaks excellent English, and her husband Nunzio, gave us a tour of their estate that in itself was one of the highlights of our trip.

There are restaurants around and Cinzia will be glad to recommend good ones. (Rely on her rather than on guidebooks for any other recommendations.) But a large well-supplied supermarket (within a shopping mall) about 15-minute drive from the house offers an alternative – preparing simple evening meals based on supplies you buy there. Also, Cinzia offers her homemade products – jams, jellies, and honey as well as local wine. Oranges she and Nunzio left on the table as a welcome gift were the best we have had ever.

The House of Camellia has one more thing, which is hard to find among vacation rentals in Sicily - tastefully furnished and decorated interiors. The house is perfectly clean and well-maintained. Backing the car through the narrow gate onto the narrow dirt road can be a challenge. I, with help of my friends who directed me, managed to get in and out every day without much hassle. But having your car parked in the shadow of lemon trees, especially during the summer, is an obvious plus and Nunzio is ready to help if someone cannot meet the gate challenge on its own.

We found absolutely everything we needed in the kitchen and in the bathroom. My only wish as a cook in the party was for a bit less used pans.

The only problem we had was not related to the house but to the traffic. We happened to be there on the Independence Day and the First of May, days when it seems all Sicilians get on the roads and crowd beaches, resorts and restaurants. Next time we go to Sicily we either avoid these dates or stay at the rental place.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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