Wednesday 28 August 2013

Casa Talia, Via Exaudinos, Modica, Sicily

Casa Talia serves a sweet breakfast with a view

Occupying a clutch of converted houses hugging a steep hillside opposite the historic heart of Modica, Casa Talia is a tasteful boutique hotel in an enviable location. Its stylish rooms each have their own patch of garden with sun loungers, sheltered by fig trees, offering views across to Modica's captivating Cathedral of San Giorgio.  Artfully furnished with surprising materials, colours and fabrics, the ancient stone rooms have been overlaid with a high-tech veneer, including centrally-controlled lighting, air-con, touch-sensitive keys and reliable WiFi. Bold, thought-provoking black and white prints adorn white-washed panels. One of the family rooms has a mezzanine level reached by a minimalist staircase sheltering a fridge and hidden cupboards. Behind the bed and a heavy door is a cool, contemporary bathroom with a refreshing rain-head shower. Covered in premium cotton sheets, the beds are comfortable and you should sleep well surrounded by the thick stone walls. 

Casa Talia serves an excessively sweet breakfast in a mature garden, enclosed by dry stone walls, overlooking Modica. You'll be brought muesli and natural yoghurt, home-made cakes, fruit (possibly figs from the hotel's own trees), bread and jam. It is all good, but it does get a bit repetitive after a few days and you'll be craving something savoury. Moreover, the watery fruit smoothies can be a bit insipid. Still, Casa Talia does good coffee and you'll want to linger over a second cup in this peaceful garden with its commanding panoramic view. You reach the garden through a startlingly unusual white-washed reception area, illuminated by a large shaft of sunlight from an extraordinary annex with a high conical glazed roof. However, getting to Casa Talia isn't easy: You have to park your car several hundred yards away and haul you cases down some steep steps to get to your room. Although it is an easy walk down the atmospheric alleyways into the heart of Modica, the climb back up will really work the leg muscles.  Still, this distinctive and charming hotel is a memorable and comfortable place to stay. 8/10

The view from the balcony of one of Casa Talia's rooms