New villas and villa rentals on Sicily, Sicilian villas and villa rentals

NEWPORT, RI, Sept 2004 – Shades of Sophia and Stromboli, Vesuvius and vicissitudes … With few exceptions, Sicily is still that place people came from, a place only now beginning to lure kin from far away places back to ancestral lands. Here in the shadow of Vesuvius they discover a land fertile in culture, lore and sophistication.

Today Wimco, the Newport, RI, and London-based luxury vacation villa and hotel reservations company, offers its Sicilian villa collection to travelers seeking to bask in Italy’s southern sun. And in true Italian fashion, most of these villas welcome families with children.

A stunning example of how the Sicilian aristocracy lived is Villa Tasca, an 18th century mansion near Palermo’s historic center. Designated an “historical house,” it offers the kind of serenity today that inspired Wagner while completing his Parsifal. Replete with frescoes, period furnishings, four bedrooms and a swimming pool, the villa is staffed by eight people and an assistant who assists with tours and booking massages, bodyguard service, and more. Guests also access the exclusive sailing club of Mondello. The year-round weekly rate is $23,450.

Villa Olmon is on the east coast of Sicily in a lush citrus valley and with views of Mt. Etna. It is just 30 minutes from the Catania International Airport and minutes from Taormina and Club Picciolo, an 18-hole golf course. It has the potential to offer 8 bedrooms and comes with a swimming pool, cook, domestic and butler. Rates vary by number of bedrooms requested; the year-round weekly rate for the entire house is $22,500.

Villa La Masseria in Taormina is two independent houses with a total of five bedrooms and a swimming pool on an estate overlooking Mt. Etna, Calabria and the Ionic Sea, while surrounded by terra cotta and volcanic stone. Here guests can easily become true Sicilians. Sit down at an open air café, order your favorite cappuccino, listen to the piano and breath deeply of the herb-infused air. The weekly rate is $6,345 until Sept. 25 and from Dec. 19-Jan. 5; $3,925 from Oct. 31 to Dec. 18. Household staff are available at an extra charge.

Villa Labruni (www.wimco.com Villa HII LAB) is a more intimate two-bedroom villa with pool, billed by cognoscenti as “your opportunity to experience heaven on earth in a peaceful coastal setting.” It is located on the island of Lipari, the biggest of the Eolie, connected to other islands by hydrofoil and ferry. Panarea, Tromboli (where a volcano erupts daily), Salina … the names roll off the tongue like native wines. It offers access to Valle Muria beach. The year-round weekly rate is just over $4,000. Household staff are available at an extra charge.

Wimco’s extensive menu of Italian temptations includes over 150 villas scattered from Sicily, the Amalfi Coast and Capri to the culinary capitals of Tuscany and Umbria where harvest festivals are de rigueur throughout September (grapes), October (olives) and November (chestnuts and funghi). Weekly rates after September range from $1,650 for a two-bedroom villa, from $2,500 for a four-bedroom villa, and from $3660 for a six-bedroom villa.

Wimco’s 2004-2005 villa inventory can be previewed on line at www.wimco.com (US) and www.wimco.co.uk (UK and Europe), By phone, please call toll free 1/800/932-3222 (US) or 44 0870 850 1144 UK).

Since 1983 Wimco has marketed and managed reservations for an expanding collection of select Caribbean and European villas and hotels. Wimco recently opened a London office, known as Wimco International, to serve the European market.

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