sicily | ragusa | eremo della giubiliana

when you go on vacation, do you ever book a room with a view?

how about a room with a site?

during our recent vacation, my husband, bob, and i stayed at an extraordinary hotel in southeastern sicily.  a hotel with an archaeological site.  the eremo della giubiliana, which has been an agricultural settlement since the greeks colonized sicily during the 8th-3rd centuries BCE, has an archaeological park.  the site of a greek necropolis (cemetery) from the 5th-2nd century BCE.

 the necropolis | 5th-2nd century BCE | eremo della giubiliana | ragusa, sicily

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 we knew that we were staying somewhere special, when upon our arrival, we were greeted at reception by angelo, the general manager, and a waiter with a silver tray holding two glasses of cold latte di mandorla (almond milk), a traditional sicilian summer beverage.

the entrance, reception and lounge | eremo della giubiliana | ragusa, sicily

photo credits eremo della giubiliana, and lisa walsh | innerspace
then marco, the concierge, showed us through the courtyards to our (upgraded) room, the suite della guardia.

 room 14 | the suite della guardia | eremo della giubiliana | ragusa, sicily

the bedroom and the sitting area both have restored stone walls and floors, cathedral ceilings with chestnut beams, and antique sicilian furnishings

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace
during the 12th century, the eremo della giubiliana was part of an ecclesiastical feudal estate.  the oldest existing part of the convent, the square stone watch tower, was built during the 15th century when the building was used as a fortified rural residence.  the knights of the order of saint john (san giovanni) from malta occupied the convent during the first half of the 16th century, when the suite della guardia was used as the guards room.  did you notice the date of 1536 inscribed into the stone plaque above the bed?

  stone plaque dated 1536 | the suite della guardia | eremo della giubiliana | ragusa, sicily

 photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

during the 18th century, a landed aristocratic family purchased the estate.  the nifosi-mancini family has owned the eremo della giubiliana since then.  the present heiress, lady vincenza iolanda nifosi, decided to restore the convent for use as a five star luxury hotel, which opened in 1997.  her son, who is an architect, designed the restoration project.  she resides on the estate.  and, she and her family manage the estate holdings.

‘when my son asked me to open the eremo to guests, he tried to convince me by saying that our family had always welcomed their guests there. i objected that all the people who had been welcomed within the privacy of our eremo were our friends, too. the answer was that, once in the eremo, our guests would become our friends.’

-vincenza iolanda nifosi

28 october 1997

architectural rendering | salvatore a. mancini architect | eremo della giubiliana restoration project | ragusa, sicily

did you notice the flag flying from the 15th century stone watch tower?

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace
outside, there are secluded courtyards…

  stairs and courtyard outside the grand master’s suite | eremo della giubiliana | ragusa, sicily

the grand master’s suite now occupies the top floor of the 15th century stone watch tower

photo credits eremo della giubiliana and lisa walsh | innerspace
a shaded swimming pool…

swimming pool | eremo della giubiliana | ragusa, sicily

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace
and, herb and kitchen gardens.

herb and kitchen gardens | eremo della giubiliana | ragusa, sicily

part of the kitchen garden was being replanted

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace
the cuisine at the restaurant, don eusebio, which is located in the former 16th century refectory, features seasonal estate grown and local organic produce, fresh seafood, and wild game.  in addition, chef peppe cannistra offers sicilian cooking courses and oversees the don eusebio workshop, which makes tenute eremo della giubiliana estate grown products.

chef peppe cannistra | cooking class | eremo della giubiliana | ragusa, sicily

photo credit
the breakfast buffet featured house made marmalade, freshly baked brioche, fresh melon and figs, and freshly squeezed fruit juice.  one of the best buffet breakfasts that we’ve ever had at a european hotel!  we would have loved to bring home some of the tenute eremo della giubiliana marmellata di arance amare (bitter orange marmalade).

tenuta eremo della giubiliana estate grown products

fruit and vegetables, marmalade, olive oil and olive oil soap, capers, almonds, dried fava and cicerchia beans, lentils and chickpeas, plus organic wheat flour, couscous, and pasta

   photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

there are so many outstanding restaurants in southeastern sicily, that bob and i decided to dine out.

pietro leemann, the chef at joia, one of our favorite restaurants in milan, highly recommended some sicilian restaurants where some of his former sous chefs are now chefs.  david tamburini at ristorante la gazza ladra in modica.  and, accursio craparo at accursio ristorante in modica.  according to giorgio locatelli, the chef at locanda locatelli in london, pino cuttaia could be considered the best chef in sicily.  so, we also had lunch at ristorante la madia in licate on the way back from the valle di templi in agrigento.  lorenzo, the concierge who booked our restaurant reservations, and angelo (the general manager) were most interested in our restaurant reviews!

it’s a good thing that the eremo della giubiliana is conveniently located near the archaeological sites in agrigento and piazza armerina.  and, the baroque towns of ragusa, modica, and noto.

we cover a lot of territory when we travel.  while we were in sicily, we drove 2000 kilometers (1250 miles)!

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

eremo della giubiliana

located off sp 25, between ragusa and marina di ragusa

97100 contrada giubiliana, ragusa, sicily

+39 (0)932 669119