The Hyblaean Mountains swell the landscape in a series of low, limestone hills spotted with olive groves, pocked with sharp ravines and cleaved by fertile canyons perfect for walking and cooler than at the coast. Slip into the natural swimming pool or doze under the shade of a frothing bougainvillea, or the branches of a carob or almond. Inside the squat honeyed-stone building it’s cool and quiet.
Select a book from the family’s collection and relax in the living room before supper. Pasta zings with tomatoes from Pachino, there’s honey from the hills, oregano, capers, asparagus and fennel growing wild. Breakfast is served at a shared table inside or out, with homemade citrus and apricot jams, omelettes and fresh-squeezed orange in the winter.
Local towns centre around ornate piazze and are lauded by UNESCO – two-faced, gorge-spanning Ragusa connected by bridges, steeply stacked Modica with its crumbly chocolate. The fast ferry leaves for Malta at the nearby port, a coastline of dunes stretched between blocky seaside towns.