Western Sicily is a magical place of pure air and fertile fields The ancient Mediterranean landscape - with wild varieties of thyme, fennel, cork oak and asparagus found flourishing among the tillage of modern olives and grapes - now yields sought-after oils and wines alongside a full sweep of perfect vegetables and citrus. And, everywhere the ruins of the ancients. Our group of eleven came to out-of-the-way Partanna, and Villa Livia specifically, to be immersed in this uniquely-Sicilian experience.
From the moment the entry gate swung open, offering the first view of the lush gardens and stately residence, the Villa Livia exceeded our expectations. The living accommodations were beautifully-appointed and nicely-arranged on the upper floors. From the high perch at the top of town, these afforded expansive views of the rich Belice valley and, onward, past Castelvetrano to the sea where the Egadi Islands are sometimes visible. Magnificent sunrises and sunsets are the norm here, not the exception. For those in need of additional privacy, the villa’s cottage awaits, just a short stroll through the gardens.
Sicily is, of course, all about the food. We elected to hire a local cook for three evenings and the experience was superb (ask the villa proprietor, who will arrange this for you). The villa offers three dining areas accommodating any weather condition: the spacious entry portico (which has a lovely breeze), the large sunroom (which faces the pool area), and the formally-decorated dining room. If you choose to cook yourself (a wise choice, given the quality of the available ingredients from the soil and sea), you’ll find the kitchen modest in size but well-equipped and thoughtfully-designed.
The villa offers two lovely living rooms for relaxation, and appointments throughout the residence are at once well-considered and typical of the region and its history. However, we used every opportunity to enjoy the outdoor spaces. The pool area deserves special mention. It’s especially lovely at sunset, an ideal location for revisiting a day well-spent over a glass of local wine.
We were especially impressed with the villa’s proprietor, who was very attentive to our interests and communicated quickly as the need arose, both before and throughout our visit. Absolutely top marks here.
Some additional thoughts:
While Partanna is ideally-located to explore the many sights in Western Sicily (Selinunte, Menfi, Marsala, Trapani/Erice, Segesta, Zingaro and Scopello are all within one hour), Partanna itself is not a tourist town. Though markets and good restaurants are a walkable distance from the residence, you’ll need an automobile to easily access the destinations you seek. Driving in Western Sicily is comparatively easy, however.
Sicily is enjoying a wine renaissance and a tour/tasting at one of the up-and-coming small vintners is a must. The same is true for olives. Nearby Castelvetrano is famous for eating olives of the Nocerella del Belice variety, while Western Sicily broadly hosts a number of artisanal producers of high quality oil. There are several other options within 45 minutes of Partanna.
In sum, we could not have asked for a better experience than was afforded by Villa Livia. We found this an exceptional property and experience, and recommend it heartily.