My best friend Josie, her boyfriend Rory, Michael and I have gone on plenty of double dates, but whilst indulging at Homeslice one evening, we decided to turn up the heat and go away on an adventure together. Since we all have a love for Italy, and none of us had ever been to Sicily, it seemed an obvious choice of destination. Before long, the flights were booked and our bags were packed – we just needed somewhere to stay. Enter ‘Baglio Occhipinti’, the villa of all villas. Slightly more remote than anticipated, but welcomingly so, the villa is located in the heart of the Sicilian countryside with ten hectares of land, featuring vineyards, organic olive groves and orchards, from which you can freely wander and pick oranges, mandarins and figs from the trees.
The villa itself dates back to 1860 and is enormous at 600m², with six bedrooms all with en suite bathrooms, six living room areas, a dining room and a fully equipped and stocked kitchen.
All of the bedrooms have panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced as good a night’s sleep as I did during our stay. The fresh air and familiar sounds of nature flowing in through the flung open windows makes for the most peaceful and refreshing sleeping environment; it was a delightfully welcomed change from our noisy flat in London!
The bedrooms are spacious and beautiful with exposed light brick walls & crisp white linens.
The en-suite bathrooms combine modern practicality (i.e. hot water & a flushing toilet) with ancient ceramic tiles, making for a usable & attractive finish.
The villa is extremely roomy with huge corridors and high ceilings throughout, with many seating areas to relax in.
The main living room and dining room share the same enormous open space of a restored ancient winery.
In my opinion, the room is breathtakingly beautiful and simply a marvel to look at. Many a great party could be thrown in that room! The main living room features more of the same inviting, fresh, white upholstery and a gorgeous fireplace with a book-littered coffee table to help while away the hours.
However, what really blew us away was the authentic kitchen, fitted with a wood-burning oven and a large stone sink. In addition to this, the kitchen is stocked with stunning antique crockery and is filled with delicious local foods that we were invited to freely help ourselves to.
Unlike any other airbnb experience I’ve heard of or enjoyed myself, the owner of the villa, Fausta, plays an active role in your stay. Caught off guard by this on arrival we were at first a little skeptical of the situation and how much the house would feel like our own with her intermittent presence. However, we soon learnt that Fausta was a generous & kind lady, whose involvement only improved our overall stay. For one, she lays out an impressive organic breakfast spread every morning (at no cost), which quickly became one of our favourite parts of the whole holiday.
Organic fresh coffee, milk, freshly squeezed fruit juice, lemon & mint infused water; handcrafted local breads & pastries;
homemade jams & marmalades; nuts & dried fruit,
as well as handpicked fruit from the garden; a variety of cheeses & cured meats from the neighbouring farms; and folded eggs with the most flavoursome tomatoes ever – it made a morning feast fit for kings.
It was the epitome of the good life, and we lapped up every recurring morning of it.
After suitably filling ourselves up to bursting point, what could possibly be better than slipping into the all-body-bearing bikini? We spent the early afternoons lazing by the impressive sized pool, truly relaxing and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
Despite the villa being a little more in the sticks than we’d imagined, it couldn’t have worked out for the better with the most beautiful house and Fausta’s incredible hospitality; we seized & relished the opportunity to switch off from the outside world and the constant, entirely unnecessary checking of social media and electronics.
Five days staying at this slice of paradise has left me feeling more relaxed & rejuvenated than I have in years and I miss every second of it already!