Sleek yet intimate residence on Taormina's cliffside
SMOKING MOUNT ETNA in the distance, indigo sea below and a table piled freshly-baked breads, pastries, fruits and local cheeses before you. No wonder guests rave about the rooftop breakfast
at Villa Carlotta, in Sicily’s resort of Taormina. The views are spectacular while the spread – and the setting – can’t be beaten.
The rest of this castellated Sicilian villa is pretty swish, too. New owners the Quartuccis (who also own Taormina’s Villa Ducale) have lavished the place with TLC
and made a good property even better. Built in the late 1800s as an aristocratic residence, stone-clad Villa Carlotta is set in lush green gardens where there are even some ancient Roman catacombs to look at. You can see the sea on one side and smouldering Mount Etna – the Big Mamma of all volcanoes – on the other
Our car was spirited away instantly (along with our luggage) and we were immediately offered a welcome aperitivo
on the stunning rooftop terrace, accompanied by (free) canapés, cold meats, olives and other mouthwatering goodies.
Orange and lemon trees
Hit the spot
A stroll from Taormina's main piazza.
Sip some prosecco on your private terrace at sundown.
It's uphill into town, but you can coast all the way home.
Your rooftop breakfast on the stunning terrace may well eclipse your night before.
All 23 rooms are individually designed, with a feel of expensive indulgence. Those I saw were exquisitely furnished, blending Sicilian antiques with the best in contemporary Italian design and plasma screen TVs. Our bathroom was a mirrored oasis of cool – not especially huge, but with an airy, spacious feel and waterfall shower over the bath.
Bedrooms are done out in muted shades with bold splashes of terracotta and warm earthy colours set against cool tiled floors, cream-coloured Roman blinds and immaculate sofas
. Stylish prints adorn the walls, while linens and towels are of superb quality. All rooms have large bay windows opening out onto balconies with glorious Mediterranean views.
There’s huge attention to detail
, and it scores high on the charm front – something that can also be said of the ultra-helpful staff, who are discreetly in evidence.
Outside, orange and lemon trees cluster in Villa Carlotta's Mediterranean gardens, swathed in oleander and bougainvillea. Swim in the sheltered pool
or wade into the waves on the hotel’s private beach at upmarket Lido Stockholm – just hop aboard the free shuttle. You can also take the Taormina cable car down to the nearby beach at Mazzara.
Have a cocktail in the villa's atmospherically lit lounge with its glowing candles before heading out on the town for the night. We sipped a glass of chilled vino while watching rivers of molten red lava streaming down Mount Etna. Taormina is all action after dark, and you’ll love watching the nightly passeggiata from the main square
Villa Carlotta was reviewed for Room for Romance by Adele Evans
Click on any picture to enlarge it and move through the gallery.
Villa Carlotta's restaurant serves Sicilian dishes, fresh pasta and salads alongside Sicilian wines. Tuck into spaghetti al pomodoro e basilico and caprese salad
against a backdrop of contemporary Italian design. If the heat has sapped your appetite chill out in the Sicilian Bar and sip an amaro
or glass of wine from the excellent wine list. If that doesn't work, cool off with a traditional Sicilian granita (lemon ice).
Stunning views are matched by superb breakfasts on the villa's rooftop terrace. Tables groan under the weight of everything from fresh juices to cold meats, and Sicilian savouries to exquisite home-made fruit tarts. And if any more fizz is needed to start the day, a glass of prosecco begs to be savoured. Walls are adorned with sunny, citrus fruit prints and there are glass bowls everywhere with Sicilian lemons and oranges. Oh, and there's limitless coffee, too.
Taormina's main drag, Corso Umberto, is lined with bars, cafes and places to eat.
See & Do
Breakfast – served on the panoramic rooftop terrace. The buffet table is laden with Sicilian specialities, both sweet and savoury
Dress the part
It’s Sicily – dress for the sunshine
A terrace table overlooking the bay
It's well worth walking up through Taormina to the hilltop village of Castelmola (on second thoughts, take the free hotel shuttle up to sister hotel Villa Ducale and stroll from there), and watching the nightly passeggiata
along Corso Umberto. Taormina's ancient Greek/Roman theatre stages productions throughout the summer months, and trips to Mount Etna are easily arranged.
There's a wellness club ten minutes away where you can book a massage or other pampering treatments. Alternatively a free shuttle take you to the hotel’s private beach.
There are plenty of little galleries for buying artworks and ceramics, as well as pasticcerie
to swoon over. Needless to say you can also pick up the latest and best Italian designer clothes and jewellery.
The bar on the groundfloor is a symphony of mirrors and dark, sexy lighting where the walls are of the exposed ancient Roman catacombs.Start with a cocktail at Deja vu or pub Morgana, followed by a late night at Club Septimo.
Rising stars of the screen world come out in force for the Taormina Film Festival.
Drama and classical music take centre stage at the ancient Greek Theatre.
Villa Pirandello, 98039 Taormina
Guest parking (payable) is available
Taormina-Giardini-Naxos station – 5km
EUR 20 from the station, EUR 90 from the airport
Catania – 60km
Rooms and suites
18 rooms and five suites
You'll find satellite TV, a mini bar, safe and wi-fi
There is a sheltered pool, Mediterranean garden, and intimate lounge bar
EUR 180 - 400
Open all year
Minimum night stay?
Breakfast is served until 10.30am. The buffet table is laden with home made cakes, quiches and local Sicilian savouries.
Available morning and evening
English, Italian and French.
Yes – for parties of up to 60 guests.
Andrea Quartucci – owner