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Digital Subscriptions > Italia! > Mar 2019 > A SICILIAN escape


Sarah Rodrigues discovers the bountiful hospitality of the Verdura Resort near Agrigento and just an hour from Palermo
The Verdura Golf & Spa Resort stands on the coast just east of Sciacca

Standing atop a lookout point surveying the Verdura Resort, it’s striking how insignificant the construction seems in the context of its expansive, 230-acre grounds; the roofs are a mere smudge on undulations of green, edged by beach and magnificent rocky coastline.

It’s quite a testament to the approach taken by Rocco Forte Hotels in the development of the resort – one that’s deeply attuned and sympathetic to the beauty of this natural environment. What better way to admire this on our first morning here than in the company of a fitness expert? Clad in whites as dazzling as his teeth, he takes us on a vigorous hike around the area, navigating the rugged coastline on our way up to the lookout from which the built area of the resort has become visually insignificant.

From here, we wend our way downwards, along the borders of large vegetable plots and rows of sunflowers. Not only does this produce find its way into the food served within the resort, but each bathroom has a single sunflower placed by its basin, a quiet symbol of Verdura’s commitment to locally sourced products and sustainable tourism. Eventually, we find ourselves in greener territory, walking alongside the riverbank with eucalyptus arching above us and hills folded upon one another in the distance. Our guide is at pains to ensure that we’re not exhausted, but the hike is invigorating rather than tiring – although by the time we emerge by the coast again, the six or so miles we’ve clocked up have definitely given us an appetite.

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About Italia!

Our new issue will take you from the chilly alpine splendour of Courmayeur in Valle d’Aosta right down to Sicily – visit the majestic Valley of the Temples near Agrigento or stay nearby at the Verdura Resort. A recent fl ying visit to Florence inspired our ‘48 Hours’ feature this month; from new discoveries at the Duomo to a new way of getting around (by tuk-tuk), this venerable city is always a pleasure to visit. And, turning to another alternative mode of transport, we take a tour around Lake Garda by e-bike.