Over the past 30 years, intrepid winemakers have put Etna on the map. Europe’s most active volcano is now home to 180 wineries whose mineral-rich wines seduce and delight. And a short drive from Catania airport, Taormina and the coast, this Sicilian hotspot is the perfect long weekend escape. Discover our favorite boutique hotels on the slopes of Etna.
Etna’s high altitude and soil composition provide fertile ground for the production of excellent sparkling wines. If you are a fan of bubbles, you cannot fail to book a stay at Firriato Cavanera Etnée, a wine station where you can taste the estate’s 12 labels, including Gaudensius produced in three classic method fashions. A family brand with 6 estates in western Sicily, Firriato understood the potential of winemaking on Mount Etna before many of its peers and began producing wine in the territory in the 1990s. Spanning 11 hectares, the Cavanera Etnea estate cultivates native Sicilian varieties and is home to rare pre-phylloxera vines over 150 years old.
Located on the popular northern slope of Mount Etna, the estate has a heated saltwater pool and charming rooms set in an old palmento – traditional stone pressing basins that were used to make wine. Cavanera Etnea is the first carbon-neutral Italian winery and is recognized for its bio-architecture. Old lava flows have been transformed into aging chambers, natural materials provide thermal insulation and all the grapes are harvested by hand.
Additionally, in partnership with the local Pennisi family who operate several well-known dining establishments in the area, Cavanera Etnea offers mouth-watering dishes to accompany its range of wines. Bistro La Reserve, a modern restaurant with a large outdoor terrace overlooking the vineyards, serves dishes like fettuccine with white beef stew with juniper berries and provola, and pork tenderloin with licorice and sweet pepper. Cavanera Etnea also offers many wine tastings guided by Firriato’s talented sommeliers: opt for the Eruzione tasting which includes tastings of 5 wines with a 4-course pairing lunch for €55.
Located halfway between Catania and Taormina along the eastern coast of Sicily, Zash Country Boutique Hotel has a strategic position to explore the area. Originally a family farmhouse turned boutique hotel, it’s a stylish getaway for travelers who appreciate designer properties immersed in natural surroundings. The estate is magnificent surrounded by 13 hectares of citrus groves and a perfectly framed view of Mount Etna from the slopes of the volcano.
Historic architecture, like lava stone walls and vaulted ceilings, has been revamped in elegant suites with private patios, plunge pools, and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer seamless integration with nature. With volcanic activity visible on one side of the estate and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea on the other, the property’s 17 rooms don’t seek to compete with their surroundings. You’ll find clean lines, neutral hues, and sunny rooms in the mansion and surrounding cottages. It is ideal for couples looking for an intimate atmosphere and a romantic stay focused on well-being and relaxation.
Historical winemaking palmento (wine cellar) houses the property’s 1-star Michelin restaurant run by chef Giuseppe Raciti. Recognized as one of the best young chefs in southern Italy, Raciti innovates traditional Sicilian cuisine in dishes like an oversized egg tortello with caciocavallo cheese, black cherries and cocoa nibs, or spaghetti with the raw langoustine, with star anise bisque and local oranges. Wine lovers will enjoy browsing the cellar filled with dozens of Etna’s top labels, and wine tastings can be arranged to provide insight into the territory.
Tenuta di Fessina
Nestled just behind Etna’s historic Circumetnea train line, Tenuta di Fessina is a jewelry boutique hotel in the middle of all the action of Etna’s northern quadrant. The seven rooms and villas are set in a 17th century palmento and each had their historical function: you can sleep in the old winemaking room, or opt for the old cistern that supplied the farm with water. Lovingly designed by owner Silvia Maestrelli, Tenuta di Fessina’s spaces are marked by exposed lava stone walls, modern furnishings and traditional tiles, capturing the many identities of Mount Etna and the Sicilian lifestyle throughout its neat aesthetic.
At the heart of the property is a large open-plan dining room with a panoramic terrace that overlooks the estate’s century-old vines. Guests can enjoy a decadent breakfast on the terrace and sample Tenuta di Fessina’s elegant organic wines by the fireplace in the lounge. A few stars have received the 3 Bicchieri awards from Gambero Rosso, including Etna Bianco A’Puddara, made from 100% Carricante grapes, and Etna Rosso Erse Contrada Moscamento 1911, made from 100% Nerello Mascalese grapes.
With its intimate and low-key atmosphere, Tenuta di Fessina is ideal for couples or extended family vacations. It doesn’t have a restaurant but its proximity to towns like Linguaglossa and Solicciata provides plenty of dining options within a 10 minute drive. The greedy Restaurant Shalai specializes in innovative Sicilian cuisine, while the cave beef pizzeria and bistro is where Etna winemakers meet after work.
Monaci delle Terre Nere
Located on a vast farm of 60 acres on the south-eastern slope of Etna, Monaci delle Terre Nere is a low-key hideaway that lends itself to retreats, weddings and family vacations. Part of the Relais & Châteaux brand, it features an infinity pool, tree house and play area for children, wine bar and restaurant. Monaci delle Terre Nere is committed to sustainability and Locanda Nerello celebrates Sicily’s slow food movement, serving seasonal dishes from the property’s 100 different species of fruit and vegetables. Look for dishes like wild fennel risotto, with baked olives and orange zest and Mediterranean albacore with cherry tomatoes, capers and aromatic herbs.
Rooms and suites are scattered throughout the estate, which also includes a handful of stand-alone villas accessible by the hotel’s golf cart service or private car. Villa Monaci, with its own private garden and infinity pool, is fitted with contemporary Italian designer furnishings and even an ancient lava flow which is incorporated into the living room walls – adding a touch of drama and charm. story to bright and modern space.
The estate’s wines are produced under the label of its owner Guido Coffa who began producing wine when he purchased the property in 2007. Five labels are produced with native grapes, while the velvety U’Ranaci features a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Nerello. Mascalais. In addition to wine tastings, Monaci delle Terre Nere has designed several experiences for its guests, from pasta-making classes and walks through the vineyards, to horseback riding and luxury sailboat rides along the coast to in Taormina. Wellness is also at the center of the hotel and guests can enjoy vinyasa yoga sessions, lava stone treatments and Ayurvedic massages.