B&B Review: Villa Quartarella, Modica, Sicily
Should you find yourself planning a trip to Sicily and wish to visit the southeastern corner of the island, then I have the place for you. Nestled in five acres of farmland on a hill just a few miles outside of the ancient Baroque town of Modica is the B&B Quartarella. Surrounded by farmland and perfectly constructed stone walls, this picture-perfect villa is your ticket to true Sicilian life.
Let me preface this review by saying that Quartarella will not be for everyone. If you are looking for a fancy resort, then look elsewhere. And while it can be difficult to locate even with a GPS, this is certainly no reason to stay away. Once you drive down that long, narrow, stone-lined road and enter the courtyard, you will immediately begin to feel the magic that is Quartarella.
So what exactly is Quartarella? It is officially a Bed and Breakfast that could easily be confused for an Agriturismo. It is also referred to as a Masseria, which is an old Sicilian farmhouse. The property was at one time a working farm and it dates back to pre-World War II. In fact, during the German occupation of Sicily the farmhouse was used as the headquarters for the local German command.
Of course, all of this changed on the night of July 9th, 1943, when US, British and Canadian forces launched the invasion of Sicily.
Damaged and left in ruin after WWII, the history of Quartarella over the next fifty years is but a mystery to me. What I do know is that sometime in the late 1990s, a young Italian man by the name of Francesco Monisteri was persuaded by his father to purchase the property. The decision certainly changed the course of his life. It has also changed the lives of the countless visitors who have stumbled upon this slice of heaven.
So back to what exactly is Quartarella? It is not your ordinary run of the mill B&B. The old farmhouse, or what was left of it after WWII has been transformed into five suites that are as comfortable and inviting as their host. Each suite contains a loft that can accommodate two extra guests for those of you traveling with children. The rooms are easily the largest that we have come across in our travels across Italy.
The common room, which was once the stable, is now a beautiful area with a large fireplace and makes for a great room to sit and relax or spend some time admiring the numerous artifacts that Francesco has collected over the years.
The room contains some amazing pieces that Francesco has acquired, some of which were dug out of the property here at Quartarella. It's almost like a mini museum, and Francesco will be more than willing to tell you the history of each piece.
The kitchen area has been renovated to include the original style reed roof that was reconstructed by hand. The reed used in the roof was hand cut from the local area for use here.
In the middle of the kitchen is a hole into the ground that takes anyone wishing to go down, into the wine cellar that sits directly below the kitchen. If you would like to go down into the wine cellar just ask Francesco and he will be more than happy to take you down there.
The entire building including the suites, common room and kitchen have been restored using stone from the fields of Sicily and at two feet thick the walls eliminate the need for air conditioning. All of the rooms are exquisitely decorated and contain antique pieces which add to the atmosphere.
As you step out of each suite, you enter into the courtyard of Quartarella, where there is a well that no doubt was part of the original property. Beyond the courtyard are fields and the coops that contain the chickens, quail, and the turkey that Francesco keeps here.
There are also two dogs that reside on the property, Nicky and Pimpa, who are a joy to watch as they romp around their kingdom. Next door to Quartarella is a field with horses and cows that makes for a picture-perfect country setting.
Would you consider staying at Masseria Quartarella?
Should you wish to cool off, there is also a small pool on the property. While not large enough to actually swim in, it is certainly sufficient for cooling off after a long day of touring the beautiful Baroque towns of this corner of Sicily.
Breakfast each morning is served pretty much whenever you would like it. Francesco is attentive to your every need and provides everything needed for a wonderful breakfast. For anyone wishing eggs for breakfast, you will be served fresh farm eggs straight from the chicken coop. It doesn't get any better than this.
Francesco was born and raised in this corner of Sicily. I can’t imagine anyone knowing the area better and he will direct you to the most precious of sites that Sicily has to offer. He is also a student of Sicilian history and he can educate you in the culture and history of this magnificent region of Sicily.
Just walk through his common room, and if you look closely, you will see relics and artifacts that he has collected over the years. Out in his courtyard are pieces of history that have been harvested from his fields. Be sure to sit under the olive tree in the courtyard at the large stone table for a meal or two, it will be a memorable experience.
I take great pride in doing my homework when researching and selecting accommodations for trips to Italy and anywhere for that matter.
I must say that our stay at Villa Quartarella was the most memorable experience that we have had to date. The attention to detail, the serene surroundings, and the charm and graciousness of our host and his family are simply unparalleled. You will not be disappointed!
An Amazingly Reasonable B&B
If you think that the price of paradise is going to empty your bank account, think again. Quartarella is not only reasonable but simply a great value. A double room will run you between 75 and 80 euros depending on the season. Rates are higher if you have more than two people per room and max out at 120 euros for four people in the high season. If you are travelling alone, a single room is 40 euros per night. Prices include breakfast and daily cleaning. Upon checking in, you are issued your room key and a key to the kitchen and common room.
If you are looking for a wonderful retreat to use as a base for exploring the southeast corner of Sicily, look no further than the 5-star Bed & Breakfast Masseria Quartarella. The beautiful towns of Modica, Ragusa, Scicli, Siracusa, Noto, and some of the finest beaches in Sicily are all just a short trip away.
Modica is located about an hour and thirty minutes from Catania and approximately one hour from Siracusa. To tour this region of Sicily it is recommended that you have a vehicle. Be forewarned that the roads in some parts of Sicily can be narrow so watch the size of your rental. We traveled with a group of six and had the largest minivan that I have ever seen and did not have any problems getting around.
Enjoy your visit to Sicily and give my regards to Francesco and Francesca.
Ciao for now
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© 2012 Bill De Giulio