Near the baroque city of Ragusa in southeastern Sicily, an old country estate has been transformed into a private home and hotel. Once run-down and neglected, this Baglio – a block of buildings clustered around a courtyard – has been carefully renovated. And still the essence of the house with its agricultural heritage and traditional character has been beautifully preserved. The modern additions neither detract from nor overpower the building’s substance, but highlight its historical details. Ancient stone and tufa walls, lime plastered interiors, clay tiles and wattle meet modern concrete floors, handmade ceramic tiles and an elegant minimalist decor. Eye-catching lighting designs by Davide Groppi illuminate both the indoor and outdoor areas. The individually designed hotel rooms can be found in the former stables, overlooking the pool and olive groves. And in room Fifteen you sleep beneath a “moon lamp” with views from the bed over the bath tub – complete with patterned tiles – out to the olive trees beyond. Two playful details are the wardrobe consisting of an old ladder placed horizontally against the wall, and an old gym bench at the foot of the bed. In room Twenty-five you’ll find traces of stories from the past: The fireplace is located in a cavity in the tuff wall which was once used to store grain, and the bathtub directly in front of it sits within the former manger.
What to do
A garden and swimming pool are available for all guests. You can enjoy the slow life: cycling, walking local trails, playing boules. Sicilian cooking classes, reading in the library, listening to music. Trips to Chiaramonte Gulfi with its beautiful churches, ancient buildings, eight small museums and beautiful pine forests.
It’s a place where opposites, or what one might suppose are opposites, co-exist wonderfully.
It’s the magic of austere lines mixed with the warmth of a family sitting around a fireplace. It’s both isolation and a window on the world. It’s waiting to arrive and the mystery of not knowing where you are. It’s the surprise of a sudden, brief encounter, between words spoken and unspoken.
It’s like meeting someone with no preconceptions or judgement. You share the space and time. You’re talking and listening, far from conventional experience, free to be what you are. You’re learning to look at life from different perspectives.
It’s like unstable buildings, dark and abandoned, that have been modified, although their original character and history have been preserved.
All this happens in a sequence of luminous areas adapted to contemporary living.
Intuition has been transformed into human space. Passion has been moulded into living architecture.
The profound curiosity towards objects and the poetry that generates them, forging their sensorial worth; the abundance of playful, aesthetic and philosophical images; the tendency towards Germanic design and Davide Groppi’s lighting solutions; the love of books, writing, cooking and dining; all these have here become ways of understanding life. They are multiple icons representing the vast, complex project that is human existence. All this has contributed to creating a place for those who like to think of a holiday as a time when they can sit back and enjoy their own rhythm.
Two big rooms. Independent. Between the pool and the vineyard. And the house. Only two rooms. Only four guests.
You arrive like guests and leave like friends.