Località Makauda, Sicily

Photo: Rocco Forte Hotels

What’s the best time of year to visit Sicily? Right now. Temperatures are still in the high 70s and low 80s. The rainy period doesn’t ramp up until November. There’s no hurricane season with which to contend. The crowds, especially families with school-aged kids, are long gone. Plus hotel rates drop as occupancy rates decrease. Early fall—late September and all of October—is perfect.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The autonomous island lies off the toe of Italy’s boot. It’s separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina. The volcanic island was prized by ancient cultures. The Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, and the Greeks all claimed it at one point. Their monuments, temples, and statues still stand. Gorgeous scenery, fresh produce, and lots of wine now make it an easy decision for a vacation.

You’re focused on the island’s southwest coast during this trip. This is where you’ll find two historic cities: Agrigento and Sciacca. Quaint fishing villages sit in between them. Greek art and architecture in the Valley of the Temples, Fiano vineyards, hot springs, white cliffs, and sandy beaches do, too. You have your eye on a beach resort that provides easy access to all of them.

Photo: Rocco Forte Hotels

Verdura Resort sits in the Verdura River Valley near the Anguilla necropolis and the Enchanted Castle sculpture museum. It covers 570 acres, filled with olive trees and orange groves, along 1.2 miles of coastline. Manicured lawns are lined with palm trees. Herb and vegetable gardens feed the resort’s four restaurants. Bike trails wind around them. Plus a private beach, known for its white sand and calm water, stands along its edge.

The resort’s picturesque setting is matched with modern, open-air architecture. Its buildings look like stone-and-wood cubes. They have vaulted ceilings, spacious terraces, and ocean views. You find a four-poster bed and Sicilian Maiolica tiles in your seafront room, which is located in one of the Landscape Villas. The spa-like bathroom has a jetted tub and a separate shower. While an international adapter—something you always forget to throw in your suitcase—is among the thoughtful amenities.

After your room, you’re most excited about the spa. The Verdura Spa is set in pavilions around an open-air courtyard. It includes an indoor pool, four thalassotherapy pools, infrared and Finnish saunas, and a double-height steam room. There are also quiet relaxation areas and a Spa Bar, whose terrace has a view of the mountains. You immediately book a Mediterranean Nourishing Treatment, which includes both an apricot creamy body scrub and a Trapani sea salt body scrub, for the next day. The pools, the golf courses, the tennis courts, and the beach will have to occupy you until then. Dinner at La Zagara, where legendary Chef Fulvio Pierangelini showcases the best of Sicily, will captivate you, as well. You might even forget that summer is coming to end.

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