Ground floor 3 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms, sleeps 6 to 8 plus pool and tennis court
- english, spanish, portuguese, italian
Marcello and Caroline are the proud owners of the ground floor of Santa Maria, a seventeenth century castle in western Sicily. Having met in London at a Halloween party, we have been together for over 40 years. Thanks to Marcello's career in an international pharmaceutical company, we have lived in various countries in South America and the Far East whilst bringing up our two daughters. While Santa Maria has been in Marcello’s family for over a century, it was at first the base of the family wine business. Then it became his parents’ home, which we and our two daughters would visit every year while we were based abroad. Twenty years ago Marcello inherited a part of the estate and we decided to convert the ground floor as our own holiday home. Respecting the villa’s three hundred years of history, we carried out a complete restoration, even discovering a seventeenth century archway in the process. Caroline’s interest in decorating is reflected in the attention to colour evident throughout. The property is now furnished with items inherited from our family and gathered from our travels around the world. Having completed the interior, we turned our attention to the grounds. We revived the walled orange garden, restored the old tennis court, planted an olive grove and added a beautiful swimming pool set within a Mediterranean garden. Meanwhile Caroline was writing her book about the villa, Casa Nostra, A Home in Sicily, based on her experience of family life in Sicily and the local culture and traditions. The book was published by Harper Collins in 2007. Santa Maria is so beautiful and so special to us that we now come here several times a year, sometimes with our children and grandchildren, but also for the olive harvest. Both our daughters chose to celebrate their weddings here. Since we now spend much of our time in London, we are happy to share our holiday home with other guests.
Why Caroline chose Mazara del Vallo
Santa Maria has a special place in our lives. Having lived in different countries about the world, we have always been back to the villa in Sicily, regarding it as a cornerstone in our lives. Marcello has an extended family based locally and many friends dating back to his childhood. Caroline has got to know the town and its history very well for the purpose of research for her book and is fascinated by many aspects of Sicilian culture. It is an amazing experience to live or stay in a villa so steeped in history. Although records go back as far as the 18th century, the building itself is at least 100 years older. The watchtower in the grounds bears an inscription with the name of the architect and the date:1584. Most probably the building once belonged to the Church and may have been a commanderie for the Knights of Malta. Anyone with an interest in history and Mediterranean culture cannot resist the fascination of this Sicilan castle surrounded by lush gardens, olive groves and vineyards, now with its own swimming pool and renovated tennis court.
What makes this Villa unique
We love santa Maria for it's romantic castle-like aspect and the beauty of the grounds. It has been a privilege to enhance the interior of the 17th century building and create a Mediterranean garden to complement the existing orange grove, olive trees and cypresses planted by previous generations.
Check-in: 4:00 pm
Check-out: 10:00 am
Smoking allowed in the grounds.
Owners' permission on booking required for pets
Guests may not hold parties or invite other people to spend the night at the property without the owners' permission.
You are responsible for keeping the property clean and for disposal of any rubbish before you leave according to local rubbish collection rules.
If the property requires extra cleaning or a fine for incorrect rubbish disposal is incurred, the cost will be deducted from the security deposit.
100% refund if cancelled at least 60 days before arrival date. 50% refund if cancelled at least 30 days before arrival date.
A week in Mazara
We have just spent a wonderful week in Villa Santa Maria. We were a group of six - 2 teenagers their parents and 2 grannies. The villa was everything that was described on the website - and more. A truly original and beautifully decorated historical gem! Lovely and cool inside as had been promised!
This was our first trip to Sicily so we were very grateful for all the suggestions for sightseeing provided by our great hosts - we followed practically all of them in our busy week and were not disappointed with anything ( though the queuing system in Segesta leaves much to be desired!) our teenagers really enjoyed lounging beside the pool and it’s lovely surroundings whilst the rest of us went touring around ancient temples!
A highlight of the trip was the lovely food we had every evening - in the restaurants recommended by Caroline and Marcello and also that provided in the villa by Antonella - it was a real treat to laze around in the villa and to have dinner delivered to your door.
I would highly recommend this lovely villa and strongly suggest that if you follow the advice in the handbook provided by its gracious hosts you will have a great holiday.
It was a great pleasure to meet this family while they were staying at Santa Maria. They certainly appreciated the tranquillity of the pool and gardens but also went out of their way to explore the rich culture that Western Sicily has to offer.
They also loved Sicilian food both in local restaurants and the meals catered by Antonella in the villa.
I am so glad that the holiday was a success with all three generations of the family. We hope they will return one day.
Stay at santa maria.
Very pleasant with beautiful private gardens.
It was a pleasure to have this family to stay again after nine years.
We are always gratified when guests return to Santa Maria, as they often do, and find it as beautiful as ever.
Make this your base of operations.It's an oasis for tired travelers.
We were six long time friends, all seniors, on an adventure. Day trips from the Villa to wonderful sightseeing to Agrigento and Marsala was delightful thanks to our driver, Francesco. Google Translate (app) and a very patient Francesco made the language barrier a minor challenge and we were able to experience Mazara through his eyes. A sparkling clean pool and the orange grove off the kitchen found us enjoying the beauty of the Villa and it's gardens. The accomodations were quite good (even by American picky standards) although some detail to landscaping would have improved the look of the facility and a simple tire pump would have made the rickety bicycles at least usable. An end of the tourist season and the begining of the hunting season could probably explain it. Alessia was an angel in disguise and was accessible and responsive to our needs.I would recommend a list of local places that would deliver to the villa which is really quite close to town. These places do exist and knowing about them would be a help to travelers staying at the villa without a car (as we were) or for those simply too tired to venture out again after a long sight-seeing trip. In all our trip to Mazara and surrounding areas was quite wonderful and the 14 hour plane trip a distant memory.
I am so glad that this group from the United States enjoyed their stay at Santa Maria. They appreciated the orange grove, the Mediterranean garden and the pool
Unusually, they had not hired a car, so we put them in touch with our trusted driver, Francesco, who escorted them on shopping and sightseeing expeditions.
Santa Maria is three kilometres away from the town and the beach so we always recommend that guests hire a car. In this case we arranged transfers with Francesco, who also catered to the guests' transport and shopping needs.
I note the comment about takeaway. This is a novel idea for us as we have never had guests without a car before. It may be possible for certain pizza places to deliver to Santa Maria, which is three kilometres away from the town centre.
We can certainly look into that. However we have an excellent cook who provides a catering service in the villa at a very reasonable, cost so generally we would recommend a catered meal instead.
The bicycles available may not be state of the art for professional cyclists but they are all perfectly functional and have been used by other guests during this season. A pump is provided with the bikes and if guests cannot find it, all they have to do is ask Alessia, who is always at hand and ready to help.
We do hope this group returned to the United States with happy memories of Santa Maria.
It was charming and in an oasis of calm and luxury but with a hint of the wild side!
An absolutely warm and welcoming experience was had at Villa Santa Maria. I would say it was the most authentic place we have stayed and the unspoilt and natural areas of this side of Sicily were a pleasure to behold. Our days were spent enjoying all the villa offered -to lounging poolside with a book, the entrancing orange grove at breakfast and a glass of wine after dark to playing cards in the library - this was one of the favourite spots of our daughters! The surrounding region really is magnificent - the restaurants, service, food and wine were beyond our expectations. The history of this place is fascinating and exploring the temples was mesmerising.
For wine lovers - take advantage and visit Gorghi Tondhi - the expression for their wine is like no other.
We can not say enough about Alessia who was wonderful during our stay - on hand to help however she could.
The Sicilian sun over this historic and breathtaking home was a place to remember and treasure.
We had a truly magical holiday and for those looking for luxury in an unspoilt area this is the place for you.
We are delighted that this family enjoyed their holiday at Santa Maria.
They certainly took advantage of what Western Sicily has to offer, not just the excellent food and wine, but also Greek temples to visit. I agree that the villa is a relaxing place to stay and the history and distinctive castle-like aspect of the villa make it stand out from other villas available to rent.
It is nice to know that Kam's daughters particularly enjoyed the library, which is also my favourite room. Many thanks to Alessia who looks after our guests so well and I hope this family will come and stay again one day.
Amaznig holiday - a true sicilian experience!
It is hard to find a place that is so more authentic and original than Santa Maria! We loved it from the moment we opened the large wooden doors and entered the courtyard. It is better than on the photos!
The place is perfect for families. The kids found new things to discover every single day. There are oranges and lemon trees in the backyard which provides for lovely fresh juice in the morning. The large private pool is clean and pleasant. As Mazara del Vallo has a large seaport there is plenty of fresh fish to be found and we had some amazing barbeques. Caroline and Mercello are fantastic hosts! Their story is truly incredible and nicely documented. The process from selecting the property all the way through receiving back the security deposit was smooth and a pleasant experience. There is so much more positive to say here... I really hope we will be back soon!
We agree with Philipp that Santa Maria is very original - not just because it's a castle but also because of the setting - extensive grounds with an abundance of flowering plants, not to mention the private pool and tennis court.
We were lucky enough to meet Philipp and his family and friends and found them delightful guests. I 'm glad there were still oranges and lemons on the trees for them to enjoy. They also very much appreciated fish from the local fish market and the local wine obtainable from various local wineries.
We do hope that they decide to return one day.
Heavenly, happy, family holiday in unspoilt Sicily
We had such a happy week in this amazing place. The apartment was so spacious and cool (a wonderful escape from the August heat). The gardens were beautiful and well kept. Our favourite thing was to sit outside in the orange grove in the evening, light a barbecue and cook fresh prawns and sip a glass of Sicilian wine, listening to the chittering of the cicadas. Our two girls aged 3 and 6 loved the swimming pool, learning to swim and dive for the first time. We enjoyed trips to the local restaurants and sights including Mazara del Vallo, Erice, Selinunte and Porto Palo. This part of Sicily is breath of fresh air, unspoilt and thankfully not geared towards mass tourism. Nanette who lives upstairs looked after us beautifully, recommending places to visit, beaches to swim, and restaurants to visit . Couldn't recommend it more highly for a week of fun, food and a bit of culture on the side.
We are very glad that this family had such a lovely holiday at Santa Maria. They took advantage of the privacy and calm of the grounds, both the walled orange grove for al fresco dining and the private pool with its Mediterranean garden, but also managed to find time to visit some of Western Sicily's world famous attractions, such as the Greek temples of Selinunte and the medieval hilltop town of Erice. And our guest is right, this part of Sicily especially Mazara del Vallo is still unspoilt by mass tourism, despite the wealth of architectural attractions, not to mention the very high standard of cuisine in local restaurants.
Santa Maria is in the heart of the country of western Sicily, so the only noise you will hear is birdsong, particularly the resident hoopoe bird. The landscape is one of vineyards and olive groves, which stretch out as far as the eye can see to gently rolling hills in the distance. However the villa is not isolated. There are neighbours within walking distance and the nearest town, Mazara del Vallo, is only three miles away. This country villa is also near lovely beaches such as Tonnarella and Marinella. Excellent for sightseeing, Santa maria is just a short drive away from some of the most fascinating sites in Sicily: the Greek temples of Selinunte and Segesta, the medieval hilltop town of Erice and the Punic island, Mozia, not to mention Palermo the maginifient capital of the island. Access to the motorway from Santa Maria is excellent and Palermo can be reached in just over an hour. Ryanair, Easyjet and Alitalia all run flights to Palermo or Trapani airports.
Other Activities: kite surf and windsurfing