In the past 30 years, intrepid winemakers have put Mount Etna on the map. Europe’s most active volcano is now home to 180 wineries whose mineral-rich wines tantalize and delight. Just a short drive from Catania’s airport, Taormina, and the coast, this Sicilian hotspot is perfect for a long weekend escape. Discover our favorite boutique wine hotels on Mount Etna.
Zash Country Boutique Hotel is located halfway between Catania and Taormina along Sicily’s eastern coast. As such, it occupies a strategic position for exploring the area easily. Originally a family farmhouse, it has been converted into a boutique hotel. Now, it’s a stylish escape for travelers who appreciate design-led properties immersed in natural settings. The estate is beautifully surrounded by 13 hectares of citrus groves. And, not to mention, perfectly framed views of Etna from the slopes of the volcano.
The hotel’s historic architecture–its lava stone walls and vaulted ceilings–have been restyled into sleek suites. Its private patios, plunge pools, and floor-to-ceiling windows provide a seamless integration with nature. Here, volcanic activity is visible from one side of the estate, and the glittering Mediterranean Sea on the other. In short, the property’s 17 rooms don’t seek to compete with their surroundings. You’ll find clean lines, neutral hues, sunlit rooms in the manor house, as well as the surrounding cottages. It’s well-suited for couples who look for a romantic, intimate atmosphere with a focus on wellness and relaxation.
The historic winemaking palmento (traditional stone buildings equipped with wine-pressing basins), hosts the property’s 1-star Michelin restaurant helmed by chef Giuseppe Raciti. Recognized as one of southern Italy’s leading young chefs, Raciti innovates traditional Sicilian cuisine in multiple dishes. These include an oversized egg tortello with caciocavallo cheese, black cherry, and cacao nibs; spaghetti with raw langoustine, star anise bisque, as well as local oranges. Wine lovers will enjoy perusing the cellar filled with dozens of leading Etna labels. Additionally, wine tastings can be arranged to provide an overview of the region.
Tenuta di Fessina
Tucked just behind Etna’s historic Circumetnea train line, Tenuta di Fessina is a bijoux boutique hotel centrally located on Etna’s northern quadrant. The seven rooms and villas are set within a 17th-century palmento, each with its own historic function. You can sleep in the former vinification room, or opt for the old cistern which supplied water to the farm. Lovingly designed by owner Silvia Maestrelli, Tenuta di Fessina’s spaces are characterized by exposed lava stone walls, mod-ish furniture, as well as traditional tiles. Its curated aesthetic captures the many faces of Etna and the Sicilian lifestyle.
At the heart of the property lies a large, open-space dining room with a panoramic terrace overlooking the estate’s century-old vines. As a result, guests can enjoy a decadent breakfast on the patio, and taste Tenuta di Fessina’s organic wines beside the fireplace in the living room. A few exceptional wines have received Gambero Rosso’s 3 Bicchieri awards. These include the Etna Bianco A’Puddara, made from 100% Carricante grapes, and the Etna Rosso Erse Contrada Moscamento 1911, made with 100% Nerello Mascalese grapes.
With its intimate, low-key atmosphere, Tenuta di Fessina is ideal for couples or extended family vacations. While it doesn’t have a restaurant, its close proximity to towns like Linguaglossa and Solicciata provides plenty of great dining options. And all within a 10-minute drive. The gourmet Shalai Restaurant specializes in innovative Sicilian cuisine, while the Cave Ox Pizzeria and Bistro is where Etna’s winemakers hang out after work.
Monaci delle Terre Nere
Set on a sprawling 60-acre farm on Etna’s southeastern slope, Monaci delle Terre Nere is a discreet hideaway that lends itself to retreats, weddings, and family vacations. Part of the Relais & Chateaux brand, it has an infinity pool, treehouse and playground for children, a wine bar, and, of course, a restaurant. Monaci delle Terre Nere is committed to sustainability and Locanda Nerello celebrates Sicily’s slow food movement by serving seasonal fare from the property’s 100 different fruit and vegetable species. These dishes include wild fennel risotto, with oven-baked olives and orange peel, as well as Mediterranean albacore with cherry tomatoes, capers, and aromatic herbs.
The rooms are scattered throughout the estate, which also includes a handful of stand-alone villas that can be reached via the hotel’s golf cart service or private car. The Monaci Villa has its own private garden and infinity pool, outfitted with contemporary Italian design furnishings. The walls of the living room even incorporate ancient lava flows! Adding a touch of drama and history to the bright, modern space.
The estate’s wines are produced under the label of its owner Guido Coffa. Coffa began producing wine when he purchased the property in 2007. While five labels are produced with native grapes, the velvety U’Ranaci features a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Nerello Mascalese. In addition to wine tastings, Monaci delle Terre Nere has designed several fun experiences for its guests. From pasta-making classes and vineyard walks to horseback rides and luxury sailboat voyages along the coast to Taormina. Wellness is also a focus of the hotel. This means that guests can enjoy vinyasa yoga sessions, lava stone treatments, and even ayurvedic massages.
Mount Etna’s high altitude and soil composition provide fertile ground for producing some excellent sparkling wines. If you’re a fan of bubbles, you certainly can’t miss booking a stay at Firriato’s Cavanera Etnea. At this wine resort, you can taste the estate’s 12 labels, including Gaudensius produced in three metodo classico styles. Firriato is a family-owned brand with 6 estates in western Sicily. Unlike many of its peers, Firriata understood the potential of winemaking on Etna and began production during the 1990s. Set across 11 hectares, the Cavanera Etnea estate grows native Sicilian varieties. It is also home to rare, pre-phylloxera vines that are over 150 years old!
The estate is located on Mount Etna’s highly prized northern slope. It features a heated, saltwater swimming pool and charming bedrooms set within a palmento. Cavanera Etnea is Italy’s first carbon-neutral winery, recognized for its innovative bio-architecture. For instance, old lava flows have been converted into wine cellars, and the natural materials ensure thermal insulation. Additionally, the grapes are always harvested by hand.
Furthermore, in partnership with the local Pennisi family, Cavanera Etnea offers tantalizing dishes to accompany its gamut of wines. The Pennisi family operates several renowned dining establishments in the area like La Riserva Bistrot. This modern restaurant boasts a large outdoor terrace overlooking the vineyards and serves dishes like fettuccine with white beef ragù, juniper berries, and provola cheese. The pork tenderloin with licorice and sweet chili is especially delicious. Cavanera Etnea also offers a number of wine tastings guided by Firriato’s talented sommeliers: opt for the Eruzione tasting which includes 5 wines with a 4-course lunch pairing for €55.