Colle degli Agrumi _ Citrus Hill

Project description

Located in the beautiful province of Catania in the hills of Piedimonte Etneo is ‘Colle degli Agrumi’ – Citrus Hill’ a magical destination, a special kind of retreat, which feels more home and personal, capable of offering a meaningful Sicilian experience and immersive with framed views of Mount Etna and the Mediterranean Sea.

The project was born from a deep reflection on the Mediterranean and the resulting desire to revive a piece of “invisible” Sicily. A place where you can experience a new type of journey, one that poetically mixes the Sicilian: history, culture, well-being, art and beauty, all in the ruins of the restored farmhouse surrounded by the magnificent agricultural landscape covered with organic citrus groves of tangerines, oranges, tangerines, lemons, citrons, olive trees and vines.

The aspiration is not only to foster an inclusive experience capable of triggering a sense of belonging and identity through a deep connection between man and nature, but also to offer a new reading of Mediterranean culture. and its powerful heritage. To this end, the cardinal ideas used in the design of Colle degli Agrumi were to give a central place to citrus orchards by creating an immersive biophilic project and adopting a design language that referred to Sicilian farmhouses: ‘Masserie’ and ‘Bagli Fortificati’, and their typical fortified and introspective layout.

The resulting project is one that does not impose itself on the landscape, but rather grows and nestles in it. Designed with nature and for nature, it harnesses the beauty and diversity of the landscape by locating and curating a program of site-specific events rooted in Sicily itself. By sowing multiple functions and different activities such as the grape harvest, the picking of olives or simply the recognition of different fruits and aromas throughout the site, as well as cultural and well-being moments, will allow the visitor to discover and Slowly experience the smells, typical flavors and melodies of the land.

The new site plan emphasizes historical traces by insulting hidden, isolated and unique details as well as natural paths and empty spaces in the groves. Moreover, with the addition of new functions and the restoration of existing walls and buildings, and by redesigning the beautiful existing staircase, we are able to reconnect the whole site through a synergy of moments and sensations, leaving make way for memories, time and a renewed inner life. peace.

Each of the existing buildings has been restored and rearranged to the bare minimum in order to retain its original form and has been assigned a function that best suits its location and morphology. Starting from the Palmento (once the place where wine was made) which today becomes a laboratory for creams, oils and other citrus products, to the adjacent dilapidated buildings which provide space for respite during the day, and a magical setting for the open-air cinema dedicated to Sicily-based films in the evening. Climbing the stairs and along the citrus groves, one comes first to a holistic therapy area, then to a wine cellar carved into the volcanic rock with a terrace dedicated to wine tasting and tasting under the dappled light of the medlar trees. Just above is the main building which has been transformed into a lounge/restaurant with a magnificent terrace shaded by a pergola covered with bougainvillea overlooking Taormina and the Mediterranean Sea. We then restored various scattered storage spaces by transforming them into small guest rooms with earth colors and views of the landscape. Finally, we rebuilt the old tower, once a citrus depot, thus restoring its storage function and transforming the first floor into a Sicilian musical and literary library with, at the top, a splendid belvedere terrace overlooking Mount Etna.

Additional new features include the natural swimming pool and surroundings where one can enjoy the shade under the olive trees during the day; in the evening, with a simple system, the swimming pool becomes an open-air amphitheater for convivial moments of literature, theater and music. We have also dug paths and spaces hidden in the voids of the vegetation where one can discover the scents of orange blossoms, read or relax and practice meditation peacefully in nature, or center their mind and body. for yoga practice.
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The result is a truly unique and inclusive experience, which helps to reconnect with our roots and to breathe and savor the Sicilian heritage. Colle degli Agrumi, open but protected, is a charming and enchanting destination offering a creative and quiet getaway for slow tourism, where one can get lost among citrus groves and splendid views of the sea and Mount Etna.

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