Pantelleria is a stunner; just 60 km away from Africa, you can spot the Tunisian coastline on a clear sky day. Even though it has long been Giorgio Armani’s summer vacation getaway of choice, the island has remained a hidden gem – forever nestled in the Mediterranean sea.
The new Pretty Hotels member, Parco dei Sesi, is located on the island’s west coast. It faces the Mediterranean sea on one side and ancient dark Volcanoes on the other.
As we passed the arch gate of the property and drove through the palm hallway dancing with the wind, we were both welcomed by the scents of rosemary, lavender, lemon trees, and capers, along with the two lovely hosts and owners Margot and Massimiliano. Quite a start to a fascinating holiday in this incredible oasis of nature.
The Inn Keepers
Three years ago, Margot and Massismiliano moved to Pantelleria to renovate the Dammuso (the typical ancient homes on the island). The ones at Parco dei Sesi were originally built by Massimiliano’s father, Filippo Panseca, in the ’70s. The Pansecas are renowned artists, and it was inevitable that art and design be rooted throughout the whole project.
Clearly, Parco Dei Sesi is first and foremost a unique guest house in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, but it also sees itself as an artist residency. Twice a year, there is a curated program inviting artists to create and be inspired by the unique lifestyle and landscape of the island in exchange for their talent. During your stay you will be able to admire the program’s results around the whole estate, on the rooftops, and in the rooms.
We really fell in love with the rooms and apartments – curated with impressive attention to detail, from the antic doors to the unique objects found at flea markets in France and Italy blended with contemporary art and design. If you have a knack for simplicity, you will definitely love the unique atmosphere of this guest house.
THE ROOMS & APARTMENTS
The most extensive accommodation is the Dammuso Grande, which has two large bedrooms and a twin room, a kitchen and a large living room with a fireplace. Then there’s the Ossidiana, for example, with its super-beautiful window overlooking the sea, or the Pietra, which has a spectacular roof terrace – also overlooking the sea – (highly recommended for city dwellers).
Or the Sesi, with a kitchen under the pergola and surrounded by ancient walls. And Gelkamar, Ulivo, Gelsifer: each room a treasure chest of memories, artworks and design elements carefully chosen by the couple. Then there are the Barracks to experience the atmosphere of a creative space overlooking the waves.
At the center of any Italian home, and it is undoubtedly so at Parco dei Sesi, are food and festivity. Almost everything that finds its way into the kitchen is grown here on the rich volcanic land. Fish and meat supplied by befriended farms and shops from around the island.
We really like the idea that different guest chefs are invited all season long, except for when the owner takes back control of the kitchen. If you are lucky the guest chef will let you in the kitchen and give you a few tricks on Italian traditions, sit with you at the table while long dinners filled with conversations ensue.
Homemade breakfast, lunches and dinners will be served to all the guests on the long wooden table shaded by the pergola just off the main kitchen. Your spritz or a local Zibbibo glass of wine will be served on the rooftop of your Dammuso while you enjoy the sunset.
Good to know: A 3-course menu costs about 45 euros (without wine). During our visit, we had antipasti, local cheese and homegrown salad, then pasta with sardines, fennel, capers and lemon, homemade caponata with almonds and, for dessert, local pastries with ricotta. Everything was terrific.
Parco dei Sesi is located next to the Sesi Archaeological Park, where you can admire the remains of the fortress and the village built 5000 years ago by the Sesiotes, an archaic population about whom little is known. A wild and remote corner, but a strategic point to reach the many beautiful parts of the island.
Parco dei Sesi also offers many curated excursions around the island created and honed through their passionate eyes – from boat excursions to hiking or cave and canyon visits. This summer there will also be a yoga and wellness therapist on the property.
During the high season, Parco dei Sesi is only suitable for adults. However, during the low season, the Grande Dammuso with its own kitchen is also suitable and bookable for families. Overall it must be said the island is not the perfect place for smaller children. There are no sandy beaches, only rocky cliffs, everything is quite rough over here.
The best flight connections are via Palermo. We would also recommend renting a car upon your arrival. If you have time, you can also arrive by boat from Trapani / Sicily.
From 130 euros for the smallest room in low season to 360 euros for a large room in high season (for two) including breakfast. The Grande Dammuso costs 1,200 euros in high season.
Booking & Contacts
Parco dei Sesi
Strada perimetrale Ovest 95
91017 Pantelleria TP,