Just in time for the return of the high season in southern Italy, San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel is now open. With impressive views in every direction, San Domenico Palace is located between Mount Etna above, the Ionian Sea below and the southeastern coast of Sicily in all directions.
Good to know: Lorenzo Maraviglia serves as the general manager of San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel. A native Italian, He previously served as the hotel manager for Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre. Other stops included time with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Armani Hotels & Resorts and Dorchester Collection.
There are 111 guestrooms and suites, with the most coveted room being the Royal Suite. All principal rooms open onto a large terrace and plunge pool with views of Mount Etna, the ancient Greek Theatre and the Ionian. Terraces in all the rooms are lined with glass for the best views, and in all, there are 19 rooms with private plunge pools.
Built on the site of a 14th-century Dominican convent, the San Domenico Hotel first came to life in 1896 with the addition of a new building in Italian Liberty style (today’s Grand Hotel Wing) adjacent to accommodations converted from former quarters in the Ancient Convent Wing. Set amid updated gardens by Italian landscape architect Marco Bay, the hotel now pairs contemporary art with antiquities and architectural relics throughout.
This Summer in Sicily
Travelers will find that most of Sicily has reopened, from the designer shops and outdoor trattorias in the town of Taormina to artistic venues, such as the ancient Greek Theatre, where a full calendar of musical performances is planned throughout summer. Beach clubs are open, with guests of Four Seasons receiving special access to one of the most popular clubs. The concierge team is also happy to offer recommendations or arrange bespoke itineraries for guests who wish to explore the region, including wine tastings, hikes, architecture and history tours, and boat excursions to the Grotta Azzura of Isola Bella with a chef-prepared picnic.
Assistant Chef Concierge Roberta Maria Cariola says the hotel has also created a number of experiences for guests, including day-long helicopter and yacht tours of the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily. Or, within the hotel, the art concierge can take guests on a “journey” through 700 years of art and architecture.
Note: San Domenico Palace opens annually from April through to the end of October, with spring and fall offering milder weather and fewer crowds.
San Domenico Palace as a Culinary Destination
The reopening of the San Domenico Palace also heralds the return of Principe Cerami to Sicily’s culinary and viticulture scene, where executive chef Massimo Mantarro’s menu is inspired by the very land where he grew up on the slope of Mount Etna. His #FSMasterdish is pasta e seppia—marinated cuttlefish tagliatelle perched atop homemade spaghetti with cuttlefish ink afloat a zucchini blossom fondue.
Additional dining experiences include Rosso, where a large terrace affords panoramic views of Mount Etna and Taormina Bay; and the poolside Anciovi, specializing in seafood and cocktails. In the garden setting of Bar & Chiostro, drinks are best paired with light fare, including the must-try pennette served in the local “Norma” style with eggplant and ricotta cheese.
Not to be missed are the creations of chef de patisserie Vincenzo Abagnale, who joins Four Seasons following four years with chef Mauro Colagreco at three Michelin-starred Mirazur in France, which was ranked No. 1 on the list of World’s Best Restaurants in 2019.
Deal: In celebration of the hotels rebranding a Four Seasons property, it is offering several deals, including the “Sicilian Indulgence” package, which comprises accommodations, daily breakfast and a six-course tasting menu for two by chef Massimo Mantarro. Additional packages can also be booked online.
Insider Tip: Consider booking ahead for 2022 to secure a room during the Taormina Film Festival or the Taormina Book Festival, both taking place in early summer each year.