Boutique agritourism, superb food & wine, fantastically friendly staff - a real treat.
Set in the lovely south-east corner of Sicily, less than 10 minutes from Ispica and about 4km from the nearest beach, Torre Marabino is about half an hour from Modica, Noto and the Nature Reserve of Vendicari, and less than an hour's drive from Ragusa and Siracusa, so it is an ideal base for exploring. There are also some lovely lidos and wilder stretches of beach nearby.
The owners of Torre Marabino produce organic wine and olive oil and are commercial growers of organic fruit and vegetables. It is in a wonderful elevated position, with views over its lush gardens, the crops and rolling landscape, to the sea in the distance, and Ispica. Torre Marabino is undoubtedly a working farm, but is part of a new generation of agritourism, which, set apart from the farm, is a haven of peace and tranquillity.
Torre Marabino is boutique agritourism at its best. The sturdy Saracen tower dominates the landscape and its mellow stone gleams in the Sicilian sunshine. Inside, it feels immense and solid. In fact, with only 7 rooms-cum-mini apartments, it is intimate, homely and elegant. Original steep, shiny black stone steps wind up the inside of the tower to some rooms. A large sitting room is really comfortable and welcoming. The dining room is small and cosy. Soft greens, peaches, sunny yellows and terracotta compliment the manorial architecture and antique style wooden furnishings. It is very atmospheric.
We love all of this, but the three main elements, which attract us to Torre Marabino, are the fantastic staff, the truly amazing food and wine, and the fabulous gardens and pool.
The atmosphere and feeling of intimacy at Torre Marabino are due, in no small part, to the exceptional staff. It seems that the charming, smiling, Simona, Francesco and Lorena have only one concern - to look after their guests, to ensure a great stay. Attentive, but discreet, they cannot do enough for you. The Maitre D, Luigi, is so nice. He knows his food and wine, he loves his food and wine, and he will be determined that you have only the best gastronomic experience. His impeccable, but friendly service hits just the right note every time and he is amazing. Elena usually serves breakfast and she is incredible - utterly charming and genuinely interested in her guests, she is a lovely lady. Giovanni and Emigliano, the young chefs, should be locked in and never let out, lest they be stolen! So talented and creative that it is surprising, they produce dishes fit for serious food-lovers and we just want to keep both of them secret! Ignazio, the gardener, is so proud of his beautiful garden, made from scratch, and he is always delighted to show guests the marvellous fruits of his labours. Every single one of Torre Marabino's "Team " put their heart and soul into it and we, the Long Travel "Team " can really identify with that. Their passion is genuine and they are just naturally nice people (like us, I hear you say!!).
Growers of organic vines, olives, fruit and vegetables certainly know their food. Torre Marabino's well-known restaurant spills out onto lovely terraces, in summer, and it is absolutely top-notch for the service and for the classy, fine food extraordinaire. Sicilian and Mediterranean specialities are transformed by Giovanni's creativity and diners are in for a gastronomic delight. The wine is superb, supremely drinkable and exceptionally good. Elena's breakfasts are to die for, amongst the best we've ever had. Home-baked pastries and delicious cakes, local delicacies, smoked ricotta, Torre Marabino's own jams and honeys and so much more, all served with a delicate touch and all non-fattening, of course(!!). You are in for a treat.
The tower stands in truly wonderful manicured lawns and lush gardens. Lofty palms, ancient olive trees and carobs, cactus gardens, topiary olive trees, neat hedges, the garden has structure and colour and is a paradise for garden-lovers. Ignazio has a right be proud of his creation - it is a real joy. The lovely pool, in a secret corner of the garden, is the perfect place to relax.
So, if you love your food and gardens, the boutique Torre Marabino, with so few rooms, is for you. In a relaxed, unhurried atmosphere, you will have fine dining, fine wines, supremely delicious breakfasts and attentive, smiling staff. We did not want to leave and we can't wait to go back.
ISPICA is in Sicily's south-east corner, which is famous for its outstanding Baroque architecture and fabulous beaches. The town's streets and squares are lined with fine palazzi and are home to several elegant churches, such as Santa Maria Maggiore, with its splendid collection of frescoes, and the Chiesà dell'Annunziata. However, Ispica is particularly well known for the 13km gorge, Cava d'Ispica, which contains a Neolithic burial site and cave dwellings from the Middle Ages. A path runs along the whole length of the gorge, although it is very overgrown, in places. It is an incredibly tranquil place to immerse oneself in Mother Nature's greenery.