From sea views to mountain landscapes, each unique lodge at Small Luxury Hotels of the World member Donna Carmela Resort & Lodges is tailored for relaxation and peaceful seclusion. Donna Carmela is surrounded by 10,000 square metres of lush Mediterranean and subtropical plants giving the resort a unique and relaxing environment.  Several of the resort’s spacious suites enjoy Etna or sea-facing views and some; panoramic terraces, lava stone hot tubs or private gardens.  Sitting in the shadow of Mount Etna, between Catania and Taormina in the small village of Carruba, Donna Carmela, its beautifully restored ancient farmhouse and lodges exist with design, nature, sustainability and Sicilian hospitality in mind.

In Jonathan’s Journal, Workham Hotels MD Jonathan White explores the resort alongside owners, the Faro family.  The family explain their philosophy of nature and tranquillity and invite guests to enjoy the luxury of the resort and the beauty and history of the surroundings.

The resort provides a great base for exploring the island of Sicily, in particular Mount Etna, Radicepura Horticultural Park and the family’s own wine estate, Pietradolce Winery.

Mount Etna

A tour of Mount Etna with a volcanologist as your guide is the best way to learn more about Sicily’s greatest landmark.  Mount Etna last erupted in 2004 leaving 3 new craters and a new lava flow.  Jonathan in his video journal learned first hand more about these eruptions and witnessed the beauty of the island from the edge of the craters.  For those more active, the hotel offers experiences such as exploring the volcano paths by quad bike, taking in the island views, the Aeolian coast and the historical hilltop town of Taormina.

Radicepura Garden Festival

Radicepura Garden Festival is the first international event dedicated to Mediterranean garden design.  The family have been nurturing plants in the nursery surrounding the resort since 1950 and developed the botanical gardens of Radicepura to showcase exquisite landscape architecture.  The festival is now a biannual event.  Enjoy a sensory journey through the scents and colours of botanical landscapes created from over 5000 species of plants from Sicily and all over the world.

Pietradolce Winery

On the Northern slope of Mount Etna, in the small village of Solicchiata lies the family’s wine estate of Pietradolce.  The estate covers an area of 18 hectares at an altitude of between 700 and 950 metres above sea level.  Here, glass in hand, Jonathan learned more about the estate and the exceptional wines produced here.  A guided visit will take you through the vineyards, the cellar and the barrel room towards a tasting of some of the delicious and characteristic Pietradolce wines.

Dining at Carmela Resort

The Faro family believe there is a synergy between hospitality and horticulture and this is evident in the wine list and menus at La Cucina di Donna Carmela.   Locally sourced ingredients, hotel grown produce and wines from the Pietradolce Winery enhance the wine list and menus that fully embrace the authenticity and flavours of Sicily.

Exploring this volcanic getaway on Sicily’s eastern coast is a relaxing and invigorating experience and it’s is somewhere to which you will want to return.

To watch Jonathan’s Journal and Jonathan’s journey to Sicily and Donna Carmela Resort & Lodges, click here.