The ancient house in the centre of Modica, hiding down tiny alleyways, has become a minimalist’s dream. Helpful Amalia greets you and opens the front door to the walled garden – the ‘hortus’ of the name. With a delicious plunge pool and a solid lava table your outdoor space (apart from a few shady trees and a triangle of grass) is made entirely of stone. And the dome of the Cathedral of San Giorgio stands above your head: an amazing baroque surprise! Inside? All is white, light, lofty, open-plan and multi-levelled. There are two well-luminated floors and a small cellar, fabulously atmospheric and stocked with Sicilian wines, a handy refuge in a heatwave (although, of course, there’s air con throughout). The beautiful all-white kitchen is divided from the living space by a chunky rustic arch, the welcome basket includes local pralines, the bathrobes are of microfibre, the textiles add character, and the swishest of the bedrooms (all small, all en suite) houses a circular bed. Book a bike, a massage, a chef or a ‘Mediterranean dinner’, then head off for the beaches, or Ragusa.