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We had a lovely holiday with our two children at Villa Iolanda this year. We were lucky to be in Sicily during an eruption of Etna and enjoyed watching the late night display of lava and fountains with the host family. The Di Guardo family were extremely knowledgeable and had first had experience of visiting Etna, so we had an extraordinary trip up to the craters around the summit.
We were made to feel incredibly welcome by the host family and nothing was too much trouble. Early in our stay we had toured the vineyard and tasted the beautiful Carricante wine produced there, so it was a wonderful experience that on our last day in Sicily, we were invited to help with the harvest of the grapes, which was a tremendous experience for all of us, working alongside the professionals.
We were two families with young children and have a lot of experience renting holiday homes. The house used to be a winery, but after some accident long time ago it was made into a lemon plantation in stead. That is why the living rooms has a very high ceiling (this was where they stored the wine before).
We had a really good time! The house is a little dated, but everything works fine. All bedrooms have AC, although some of the beds are more comfy than others. All bedrooms are on the second floor, which makes it easy walking between the outside/pool area, and to your room.
The outside area is very nice with shaded areas, sun chairs with cushions etc. There is a fantastic view of Etna and the area around. The pool has a fence around - perfect when you have small children. There is also an outside kitchen if you want to make food out doors. There is a fridge both downstairs and upstairs which makes it easy cooling water, drinks, food etc. They have a dishwasher.
We had good communication with the elderly couple Mr and Mrs Foti. They came almost every day. They are happy to help and answer questions. There are also workers coming and going, as it is a working lemon plantation. Although they don't come into the house or pool area, some might feel that there is always someone else around. Since there are many trees around, you also have many midges. The electrical system might need an upgrade, as lights often flash when starting for instance the AC. You must have a car to get to the house, and the house has enough parking space. The road is a little bumpy and narrow right at the end, but that's part of the experience.
Giarre was not the nicest of towns, but there are many nice towns and villages around that the Fotis can tell you about. We went to Etnaland, to Etna of course, and there are many good wineries in the area (we went to Planeta and Barone di Villagrande - both recommended). I also recommend the bakery Piccolo Forno, 10 min driving from the house.
All in all we had a great time. We spent many hours in the pool and sunbed area. There is also an area in front of the house where there is a little space to play ball games. There are a lot of nice decorations and plants out side which give the place a nice charm. We would not mind coming again.
Thank you for a great stay!