Sicily has been a melting pot for centuries. European, North African and Arabic cultures meet here, the result is not just a unique architecture. As the Residenza Hortus in southern Sicily shows, this also creates an extraordinary attitude to life, the radical contrast to the fast, western lifestyle.
The villa is built right next to one of the symbols of the city of Modica: the baroque cathedral of San Giorgio. Their impressive profile is also the first thing that guests see when they look out of the window. If you are not woken by the soft sound of the bells, get out of bed at the latest when you smell the Mediterranean breakfast.
But culinary delights are also waiting outside the Residenza. Modica is famous for its chocolate, not to mention red wine. The entire city, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Val di Noto, can be explored on foot. All facets of colorful Sicily can be discovered by car within a few kilometers: the necropolis of Pantalica, the beaches of Sampieri and Pozzallo or the fishing village of Marzamemi.
The coexistence of Orient and Occident is also reflected in the house. The entire villa was renovated from 2011 to 2014. Nevertheless, formative elements such as archways or stone walls have been lovingly preserved. Otherwise, the Residenza Hortus is characterized by a simple, modern design. Basins, plates and furniture made of regional stones create a traditional ambience in selected places. The Residenza Hortus is a private, secret and quiet place full of emotions, where the soul can not only relax, but also comes to rest.
ArchitectureThe renovation of the building was based on a balanced interplay between beauty and sustainability. The Residenza Hortus reveals the typical Sicilian architectural style, but at the same time offers an elegant, minimalist ambience. It is the details that do it: materials from the region in particular, especially various rocks, were used everywhere. The walls and floors were covered with environmentally friendly materials, the roof is thermally insulated with cork.
FoodBasically you can cook yourself in the well-equipped kitchen. If you want, you can have a Mediterranean breakfast prepared or have a chef explain and teach you the typical cuisine. Only regional and seasonal ingredients are used, lots of fish and even more fruits. Guests can also sample chocolate and other sweets from Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, Sicily's oldest chocolate shop, exclusively. The wine cellar is filled with selected products from local winemakers, all of whom are committed to the concept of slow wine.
Local craftsmen were employed in the renovation of the villa, and the operator Anime a Sud mainly hired people from the region. They receive a personal gift once a year to thank them for their efforts. The operator of Residenza Hortus also supports the Italian branch of Doctors Without Borders.
EnvironmentThere is a solar system on the roof that operates the air conditioning and heats the water. Both inside and outside, only energy-saving LED lamps are used, the taps are equipped with water-saving functions.
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Comiso International Airport is just half an hour away by car, while Catania is around an hour and a half away. From Catania you can easily take the bus to Modica, from Comiso there is currently only one taxi connection. An airport transfer is possible at an additional cost. Those arriving by car or rental car can park for free near the Residenza Hortus.
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