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Villa Santa Stefania

Zafferana Etnea, Catania

All bedrooms have air conditioning with individual climate control. There are 400 kwhs per week of electricity included in the price. Usage over this allowance is paid on-site in Euro.

A grill using charcoal or wood is available.

A complimentary breakfast buffet is included in the price for Sunday morning. For the other days, continental breakfast may be arranged. To ensure availability, order this service at the time of booking. This service is paid on-site in Euro.

Car Needed
It is necessary to have a car at this property.

A mid week refresh cleaning with a towel change is included in the price - This service neatens the bedrooms and living areas, and it does not include cleaning the kitchen. Additional light housekeeping may be arranged, if requested at the time of booking. Advance notice is required and this service is paid on-site in Euro.

Closest Airports
National and InterEuropean: Catania Fontanarossa - 40 minutes
National and InterEuropean: Palermo Punta Raisi - 3 hours

Cooking Class
For groups of 6 or more, an afternoon cooking class may be ordered at the time of booking. Advance notice is required and this service is paid on-site in Euro.

Driving Times
Zaffferana Etnea: 12 minutes; Giarre, A18 highway exit: 15; Acireale or Giardini Naxos beaches: 30; Taormina or Catania: 40; Lentini: 60; Messina, Siracusa or Ortigia: 75; Caltagirone's ceramics: 90; Noto: 90; Piazza Armerina or Ragusa: 100; Agrigento: 2.5 hours; Palermo: 3 hours

Language Spoken
The keyholder lives in Acireale and speaks English.

Internet Access
For those taking along a laptop or an Internet capable device (ie. tablets, smartphones, iPads, iPhones), the property has WiMax broadband.

Heating is paid on-site in Euro. Two baskets of firewood for the fireplace are included in the price.

Interior Décor
Sicilian farmhouse - Completely reconstructed to successfully blend a country structure with the modern comforts of a contemporary home. The flooring and walls in the kitchen, dining room and living room showcase black lava stone native to this area. Terracotta and travertine flooring are used in the other rooms. Several sets of double doors open to either the garden or a sea view balcony on the top floor which makes for very open, airy and sun-filled rooms.

Interior Amenities: All the bedrooms are air conditioned and each has its own bathroom equipped with portable hairdryers. All the bathrooms are en suite, with the exception of the bathroom for Bedroom 4 being across the hall. A portable CD player and iPod dock are provided.

Layout Notes: Within Bedroom 1, there is a small embedded room with a decorative lean in window opening into Bedroom 1. This area may be used as a sixth bedroom for children sleeping near their parents or Bedroom 1 can be designated for up to four youngsters. During peak summer, the door separating the two rooms should be kept open since the AC unit is only in Bedroom 1.

The charming country style kitchen opens directly to the large dining room and is equipped with electric oven, stove top with five gas burners, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, US-style coffee maker, espresso machine, toaster and blender.

Dinner may be arranged, if requested at the time of booking. A minimum number of guests are needed to order this service which is paid on-site in Euro. Advance notice is required. Guests can choose between a traditional Sicilian dinner or a barbecue night.

All of the bathrooms have shower stalls and a few of them are for petite people. The shower stall opening for Bedroom 4 is 11 inches wide.

One of the neighbors is a donkey stable; they may be seen at 200 yards by walking to the pool edge and looking down below the fencing.

No Smoking
Smoking is not permitted inside the property.

Parking is free and at a short distance from the property.

Steps & Stairs
Guests may be dropped off 30 yards from the ground floor and walk on level lawn to enter the villa. It is possible to drop off at the upper level, since there are two driveways reaching each floor. The two most accessible bedrooms and bathrooms are on the ground floor with a threshold step. There is an extra bathroom on the ground floor with an open shower that is designed for wheelchair access. The remaining bedrooms and bathrooms require 24 steps with a handrail.

A portable cellular phone is made available at check-in. The phone is typically charged with 25 or 50 Euro worth of calling time. Guests only pay for the usage consumed. If you require additional minutes, please ask your keyholder for assistance.

Choose between exploring Mt. Etna, the former Greek stronghold of Taormina, the sandy beaches of Giardini Naxos or neighboring wineries - from this location, a wide array of sightseeing options are possible.

This villa embraces the outdoor living that Sicily is known for with beautifully landscaped grounds and nicely organized outdoor space. The salt-water pool is open from the first weekend in April to the last weekend in October.

The upper level terrace has a very distinctive view - it looks out across the Ionian sea and turning your head in the opposite direction brings Mt. Etna into view! This terrace is the place to be in the evenings as your group gathers around the fire pit and relives the day's adventure.

The perfect blend of Sicilian country charm with modernized interior comforts including air conditioned bedrooms. This home is ideal for guests wanting to avoid stairs with a level garden and pool area and two ground floor bedrooms with bathrooms.

The private salt water pool is open from the first weekend in April to the last weekend in October. Pool towels are provided.

Road Condition
After exiting the A18 highway, the four miles leading to the property are along easy paved roads.

Satellite Basic package - A limited number of channels with most of them being Italian. There are one or two news channels in the English language.

Far reaching views over the green Sicilian countryside extending out to the Ionian sea are best seen from the pool and garden area and the three bedrooms opening to a balcony on the top floor. All the ground floor rooms overlook the pool and dining patio.

This property is equipped with a washing machine and dryer.

What's nearby
Shopping and Dining: The small neighborhood of Milo is just over a mile away with a mini-market, butcher shop, pharmacy, three restaurants, wine bar, cafe serving homemade gelato and a bank. Within four miles or 12 minutes by car, choose between the modern town of Santa Venerina or the larger town of Zafferana Etnea for more shopping, supermarket and dining options. Near the Giarre highway exit, a 15 minute drive, is a large supermarket open every day.

Hiking Mt. Etna: There are several ways to explore Europe's highest volcano. For easy to moderate hikers, drive south to the town of Rifugio Sapienza and take a cable car to one of the viewing areas at 6200 feet. Advanced hikers can continue on foot hiking up to a crater at 8500 feet which requires hiring a guide. The hearty hiker can skip the cable car altogether and hike up to the crater from Rifugio Sapienza in five hours. Another option is to approach the volcano from the north by driving 30 minutes to the parking area of Piano Provenzana, where the hiking resembles nature trails through pine and beech covered forests. In the winter, Piano is a ski area with a few downhill and cross country trails.

Nature Trails & Canyoning: A 45 minute drive north leads to Gole dell' Alcantara, a national park with gorges and canyons formed by lava rock. The park offers several trails leading to hidden beaches and waterfalls. One trail begins at the Calatabiano castle. Open year round.

Beaches: Much of the coastline along the northeastern shore is rocky. For sandy beaches, drive 30 minutes to Giardini Naxos or 50 minutes to Playa di Catania (adjacent to the airport). Both are summer resort areas with pay per use beach clubs, free sections of beach, restaurants and cafes.

Not To Be Missed:
- Catania's well known fish market offering a large variety of seafood delivered straight from the boats. La Pescheria takes place every morning along the piers of Via Dusmet. Continue on to the outdoor market in Piazza Carlo Alberto. Both outdoor venues are open daily, except Sunday when an antique market comes to Piazza Alberto.

- The Archaeological Museum in Lentini, an hour's drive, houses artifacts from the archaeological sites in the area documenting the Leontinoi, one of the first Greek colonies in Sicily. The artifacts include pottery, stone and metal ware, sculptures and frescoes from the Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages along with the Hellenistic, late Roman, Byzantine, Arab and Medieval periods.

For Families:
- Kiddies and adults will want to walk over and visit the neighbor's donkey stables. Rides are offered to the little ones in the warmer months.

- A zip line adventure park is 10 minutes away with trails designed for children and adults. They are open daily from mid-June through mid-September, and at other times of the year, they open on the weekends.

- The Etnaland amusement park with theme rides, an acqua park and dinosaur safari is 45 minutes away in Belpasso, west of Catania.

Open Air Markets: Local markets are found in the center of the towns starting at 8 am. They take place on Tuesday in Riposto and Fiumefreddo, on Thursday in Giarre and on Friday in Zafferana Etnea. Catania's market in Piazza Carlo Alberto takes place daily and on Sunday becomes an antique market.

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