Sicily is supposed to be wild and untamed, but the Castello di San Marco proves Tuscany’s got no monopoly on the genteel, aristocratic life. Here, in the shadow of Etna, on the Sicilian coast between Taormina and Catania, you may as well be in a different world, and here, in the Castello di San Marco, you’ll find a hotel that combines a typically Italian obsession with food, wine and the good life with a very local — and quite unusual — Sicilian Baroque atmosphere.
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The old castle is the centerpiece, and the site of the restaurant, the wine bar, and a few of the deluxe suites. Most of the accommodations, however, are distributed around the grounds, in low-lying buildings surrounded by parkland and gardens. There’s nothing smaller than a junior suite, and one Grand Suite, above the old winery, looks directly at Mount Etna from its bedroom windows.
In addition there’s a spa, a lovely swimming pool, and you’re more or less just across the road from the beach, which is one of the best things Sicily has going for it. In short, the Castello di San Marco is typically Italian in all the ways you want it to be, and unusual in the best ways as well — and not a hotel you’ll likely soon forget.
How to get there: Castello di San Marco is about a 45-minute drive from Cantania Fontarossa Airport (CTA), or about a 25-minute drive from the Giardini-Taormina train station.