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Living Like a Sicilian Noble

Experience a rarified Sicily with a stay at an aristocratic palace.

BY Catherine Sabino | Life | Dec 21, 2017
Photo courtesy of the Thinking Traveler.

Sicily has developed a new luster for sophisticated travelers over the last few summers. The cultural and style influencers, who had gravitated toward such idyllic Italian destinations as Puglia and the Aeolian Islands, now declare the island as one of the country’s best-kept secrets. With Palermo named Italy’s capital of culture for 2018, the city, along with the entire island, is readying for an influx of visitors who will come to take in Sicily’s vast artistic riches.

There are few better ways to experience an authentic, if rarified, Sicily than with a stay at one of its extraordinary historic properties, many still owned and lived in by the aristocrats whose families have called them home for centuries. Some titled families are opening properties for the first time, broadening their rental portfolios or refurbishing and expanding apartments within their sprawling palaces. Rentals, which can range from a palace pied-à-terre to a palatial countryside estate, run from the exceptionally affordable to the five-figure weekly fees one would associate with summer in the Hamptons or the South of France.

For first-time visitors, Prince Ruggero Moncada, owner of the Palazzo Biscari in Catania, advises thinking of Sicily as more than “a simple island.” He says, “We like to define it as an isolated continent, formed by dozens of tiny nations with colors, flavors and very different characters.”

Here are seven properties with long aristocratic heritages to consider when visiting Sicily.

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