If you want peace and seclusion on Sicily, then look no further than Tenuta Gangivecchio, a converted 13thC monastery, reached after a long drive through the beautiful Madonie region. The home of the Tornabene family for generations, the monastery lies at the bottom of a steep valley, hidden behind tall wooden doors that open to reveal a magnificent courtyard and magical buildings. First came a restaurant in the monastery itself whose reputation for marvellous Sunday lunches soon spread far and wide; the restaurant and its reputation are still thriving. Some years later, the stables were converted into guest accomodation, now run by Paolo Tornabene.
If you expected to be sleeping in the monastery, you will be disappointed, but the good-sized, simple rooms with their red-tiled floors, country antiques and pretty bedspreads are not without rustic appeal. Recently a suite has been added in the monastery building itself. The guest wing has its own dining room looking on to the garden where imaginative variations on typical Sicilian dishes using mainly home grown ingredients are served. There is no choice on the menus, so warn the laconic Si. Tornabene in advance of any individual requirements. Our reporter found that the Tenuta was, in many ways, a very special place - and offered excellent value for money.