Agriturismo Valle di Chiaramonte is one of two working farms owned by the Gulino family on the Italian island of Sicily. The main focus of the Gulinos is beef, dairy and olive oil production but they also have some rooms where you can stay at one of their farms. The agriturismo can host up to 20 guests in its nineteenth century stone buildings and also has a restaurant, a swimming pool and a children’s play area. When my family of four shared a room there in the heat of August we found it a great base for exploring some of the Baroque towns of Southern Sicily.
Agriturismo Valle di Chiaramonte is very close to the new airport at Comiso – about 10 minutes drive away. Ryanair fly to Comiso from London Stansted (you can read my flight review here). The farm is in the middle of the countryside with views towards the hilltop town of Chiaramonte. Chiaramonte is one of the many towns in the region which was destroyed by a huge earthquake in 1693 and was subsequently rebuilt in golden stone in the Baroque style. While we were there we visited the lovely Baroque towns of Chiaramonte, Ragusa and Caltagirone, famous for its ceramics.
Most of the food served in the restaurant is either produced on one of the Gulino farms or by other local producers. Signora Gulino is a very good cook and her ricotta ice cream and ricotta cake are delicious. Because they serve what they produce you don’t have a lot of choice about what to eat at an agriturismo but as the dishes are all cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients everything seems to be delicious. I’m vegetarian and that’s never been a problem when I’ve eaten at an agriturismo. The restaurant offers excellent value: a four course set menu costs 17 euros including wine, water and coffee.
The farm has adult bikes to hire for five euros per half day (up to five hours) or 10 euros per full day, including helmets. Guests who are staying during harvest time around October are welcome to help with the olive harvest and see how olive oil is made. You can also learn how to milk a cow. The swimming pool is available for local residents to use as well as for guests staying on the farm. We had the pool to ourselves one afternoon but the next day we shared it with around 30 friendly Italians of all ages who had paid five euros each for a sedate ‘Keep Calm & Come to Chiaramonte’ pool party. They drank orange juice with ginger, listened to music provided by a local internet DJ and played some team games in the pool.
Our room was in a newly renovated single storey stone building. It was simply furnished, spacious, comfortable and spotlessly clean. There were a double and two single beds, some pine cupboards, a sofa, a small fridge, a TV and an air conditioning unit. The roomy en-suite bathroom had a shower, loo, sink and plenty of water – this part of Sicily has constant mains water unlike some parts of the island. Outside our door there was a small stone terrace and a grassy area with olive trees and shrubs enclosed by a wall made of golden stone.
My children were delighted to find that there’s free, unlimited WiFi available for guests at the farm. It didn’t work in our room as the walls were so thick but the kids always seemed to find a spot where they could pick it up. My son’s favourite place was by the pool.
There’s a pair of ponies at the farm and one, Lello, is particularly friendly. On our first night there we were surprised to find Lello in the courtyard near our room as we walked back from the restaurant. He followed my husband, nudging him with his nose until we worked out that he was thirsty and we filled a bucket of water for him to drink. There are also a few cats around the farm.
The Gulino family are very busy being farmers and so have cleverly employed local girl Angela Caspanella to promote the farm and liaise with guests. Angela speaks excellent English and is extremely helpful and friendly. She was our point of contact before we arrived at the farm and gave us some great advice about what to see and do while we were there.
I like the Valle di Chiaramonte agriturismo: it’s a welcoming, authentic place to stay. The farm is in a great location for visiting Sicily via Comiso airport and for exploring the Baroque towns. The accommodation is very simple though so if you’re looking for five-star luxury this isn’t the place for you.
Family travel lowdown
Thank you to Agriturismo Valle di Chiaramonte for having us to stay. We stayed in a room there for three nights in August. Rooms cost 35 euros per person per night including breakfast in high season, children under three years old are free and from three to 12 years old are 15 euros per night when sharing a room with their parents.