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Sicily at its Finest by Merle Wilkening | 29th February, 2024 | Prime Properties

The Rocco Forte Private Villas enjoy the utmost privacy and greatest conceivable comfort. Owners are treated to the five-star service of the “Verdura” hotel resort.

Right in the south, at the very tip of Italy‘s boot, lies the largest island in the Mediterranean: Sicily. Olive trees and citrus groves as far as the eye can see, and white sandy beaches that set the scene perfectly for la dolce vita. Expertly envisaged by Sir Rocco Forte, the exclusive five-star Verdura Resort awaits on the island’s south coast. Set within the sprawling 230-hectare estate, the luxury hotel group has now created its first residences on Sicily, with 20 private villas to date.
From London to Rome, and St. Petersburg to Sicily: the Rocco Forte hotel group currently operates 14 luxury hotels and resorts, several of which can be found on Italian soil. Some of the most elegant hotels in the whole of Europe now fly the flag of the family business, including the “Villa Igiea” in Palermo, which resides in a beautiful 19th century palazzo, and the iconic “Hotel de Russie” in the Italian capital Rome. The British hotelier Sir Rocco Forte founded the company back in 1996 with his younger sister Olga Polizzi, who oversees the aesthetic philosophy of all hotels as Director of Design. Sir Rocco’s two daughters and son have since also come on board at the prestigious company.The opening of the “Verdura Resort” in 2009 marked the group’s first foray into Sicily. The private villas, being brokered exclusively in the DACH region by Engel & Völkers, also mark a brand new chapter for the hotel group: “This is our first venture into villa accommodation and we have carefully studied the market to ensure we deliver the highest standards of design and service,” Sir Rocco says. There are four different varieties of villa, compromising three or four bedroom suites respectively, and each treating owners to bespoke and uncompromising comfort in every respect. Residents benefit too from all the resort’s amenities and five-star service: bars and restaurants, the award-winning Irene Forte Spa, the Kyle Phillips 18-hole golf course, tennis and padel courts, and the kids’ club are all just minutes away from the residences – and easy to reach by golf buggy, e-bike or taking a leisurely stroll through the verdant grounds. Other such exclusive extras include a private butler or personal chef ready to provide their services on request whenever the whim takes guests.The villas were designed by the renowned Italian architecture firm ASA Studio Albanese, together with Olga Polizzi. “When working on the villas, it had to be an extension of what we achieved with the Verdura Resort, where we worked with the genius architect Flavio Albanese,” says Polizzi. “His attention to design and space planning is second to none. He has a feel for the land and the island, and understands the terrain and landscape.” Architecturally, the villas are inspired by the island’s outstanding natural beauty and incorporate the features that the region is known for such as the beams, flat roofs, outside stairways, and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow abundant light in.

The two-storey structures appear very much in keeping with their surroundings, while the gardens offer the utmost privacy and a sense of vibrancy in the landscape. Local tuff stone that is typical of construction in the region is the main material used in the villas. The furnishings too are regionally sourced and remain true to the location on the southern coast of Sicily: “We opted for fabrics and materials that resemble this special island,” Polizzi reveals. “Rough linen, rather comfortable contemporary sofas, earthy colours combined with brightly accented kitchens, and local stone throughout. We are lucky that we have great connections with local artists in the area so we use their works as much as possible in the villas and for inspiration. Much of the pottery used decoratively throughout is from the local village of Sciacca. Unique Italian designer pieces by Meridiani round off the interior furnishings, along with sophisticated lighting and individual design by L’Interno and C&C Milan.

A private sandy beach is reserved for villa guests only, ensuring absolute seclusion and tranquillity. A range of watersports are also available on the resort’s main beach. This includes such memorable treats as a trip around the nearby Sicilian bays on the 18-metre “Verdura” yacht. One special highlight too is the fact that guests can enjoy the convenience of touching down here in just 20 minutes by helicopter from Palermo Airport.

Hotelier Sir Rocco Forte (2nd from right) with his sister and Director of Design Olga Polizzi. Left: the children Lydia, Irene and Charles.
Sicily, Italy Price from EUR 2.658 mill. Interior approx. from 287 m² E&V ID D-000JQ0
ENGEL & VÖLKERS Roma (IT) Tel. +39 06 45 54 81 20 E-mail [email protected]
EV MMC Italia S.r.l. – Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 282–284 – 00186 Roma/Real estate company – Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Italia S.r.l.
IssueGG Magazine 02/24
City/CountrySicily, Italy
PhotographyRocco Forte Hotels