Villa Sylvia lies at the heart of the Valle del Belice within the Monte Genoardo nature reserve, surrounded by a managed woodland of larch, oak, and chestnut that has formed part of its estate since the 13th century. The nucleus of the abbey dates back to the 14th century, but the building was greatly extended and improved by the Benedictines in the late 16th century.
Arriving here is an incredible experience — indeed stepping through the grand door into a seemingly interminable (in fact 108m-long) corridor, cross-vaulted, and hung with red velvet curtains, may make you feel you have not only traveled back in time but into a previous life as a Benedictine Cardinal. The thirteen bedrooms, all with private bathroom, open onto the grand corridor, as does the dining room, a small living room with TV and a large kitchen with larder. The main living room, or grande salon, is at the end of a second corridor, which intersects the first beneath a typical Baroque cupola. Off the cloisters is the immense, original refectory, these days used as a dining or banquet room when large groups visit. From here a monumental staircase leads to the upper floor.
The garden is beautifully cared for and full of hidden angles — even including a labyrinth — and in summer you can cool off in the large swimming pool. The abbey forms part of an agricultural estate, with milk fresh from the cow, seasonal produce, eggs and olive oil available for the use of guests. Useful information: There is no air-con because there is absolutely no need for it! The location and the thick walls mean that the abbey stays cool in summer.
Contessa Entellina is a small comune of 2,184 inhabitants in the province of Palermo, in Sicily, southern Italy. Is located in the "Valle del Belìce" to 571 metres above sea level in the mountains called Brinjat, is situated 80 km from Palermo.