THE Place To Book For An Epic October Half-Term Trip
THE Place To Book For An Epic October Half-Term Trip

THE Place To Book For An Epic October Half-Term Trip

Thanks in no small part to the second series of The White Lotus, Sicily is firmly back on the map for next-level Italian escapes. Away from the busy hotspots of Palermo and Taormina, you’ll find Rocco Forte’s Verdura Resort, which is renowned for its excellent kids club. Thinking ahead to October half term, there are plenty of reasons why the resort should be top of your list...

Created in partnership with ROCCO FORTE HOTELS


Verdura Resort can be found in a valley on the south coast of Sicily, surrounded by orange, lemon and olive groves. It’s an idyllic setting for guests to do a few laps in the infinity pool, take leisurely walks along the beach, play a round of golf on the 18-hole championship course, or retreat to the expansive spa. At night, take a seat at Granita Bar in time for sunset and enjoy cocktails made using ingredients grown in the gardens, then visit one of the four on-site restaurants for southern Italian cooking.

As well as two kilometres of private beach, the resort offers an excellent kids club, plus 20 stylish villas and 203 bedrooms, which fuse luxurious, modern design touches with architecture in keeping with Sicilian culture and history. There are myriad opportunities to be entertained or plenty of space to simply enjoy doing nothing. But this isn’t everything that makes Verdura so special. There’s also the beautiful Sicilian setting, the Italian warmth – even in October – and the fact that children are genuinely welcome. If you’re planning a half-term escape, here’s everything you need to know.

for KIDS


This kids club is renowned for its attentive staff and exceptional facilities – there’s an art room, cinema, dedicated pools, soft play zones and a sleeping area. The little ones can enjoy face painting under a fairy-light sky while the adults listen to live jazz at dinner on a Saturday night. Children can have fun with Verdù the hedgehog cuddly toy, do arts and crafts, sports, cooking and much more. The programme includes cooking in a custom-sized kitchen, learning about the land and picking vegetables from the resorts organic garden, and discovering legends and myths surrounding Sicily.

Sports Academies…

Verdura Resort offers a variety of sports academies including the Junior Golf Academy. Budding young footballers can take part in the Juventus Training Experience while those who enjoy the pool will love learning with professional instructors at the resort’s swimming academy. There are also karate and fencing classes.



Verdura is a golfer’s paradise. Picture 18 holes with greens beside the sea, nine holes for those after something less challenging, golf academies for all ages, plus a driving range – you name it, they’ve got it. You won’t, however, feel left out if golf isn’t your thing. There are professionally led academies for everything from fencing to tennis to cookery. The Verdura Tennis Academy hosts tournaments for guests and has an exciting calendar of events with ex-professional tennis players as instructors. From 22nd to 27th October 2023, the instructor will be former German pro Bernd Karbacher.


The Irene Forte Spa is one of Europe’s most advanced luxury wellbeing centres, with a distinctive Sicilian flair. Housed in pavilions grouped around an open-air courtyard, it has 11 treatment rooms, a 20-metre indoor swimming pool, a double-height steam room, Finnish and infrared saunas, a 170 sq m state-of-the-art gym, fitness studio, spacious relaxation areas and a hair and beauty salon. Set among olive groves, oranges and lemon trees, there are also four outdoor thalassotherapy pools, heated to different temperatures, each with varying salt densities, minerals and organisms – an experience that’s amazing for joints, back pain and circulation. 


We mentioned golf earlier, but the facilities really do deserve their own spotlight. The resort offers two 18-hole Kyle Phillips courses with the Mediterranean on one side and olive trees on the other. The resort is an official PGA European Tour destination and plays host to the Rocco Forte Open. Keen players can also take advantage of the Indoor Performance Institute, which uses cutting-edge technology along with a team of dedicated golf coaches to enable guests and members to make the most of their abilities, pinpoint areas for improvement and find the solutions. Adding to the state-of-the-art technology is the 4D Motion, a revolutionary, wireless 3D full body and club motion capture system.


The resort is exactly between the archaeological sites of Selinunte and the Unesco Heritage site of the Valley of the Temples. Both are especially good to explore during October half term – when the temperature is kinder to children and families can book in to learn more about history. As the resort is found in a 230-hectare estate, there are plenty of paths around the grounds for easy or challenging hiking trails – a great way to soak up the scenery.

Villa Igiea

This lovely property is a stunning turn-of-the-century palazzo on the Sicilian coastline. The hotel – which opened two years ago – was Rocco Forte Hotels' eighth property in Italy and is just 90 minutes from Verdura Resort. It’s also only a 10-minute drive from the centre of Palermo, where visitors can explore the city’s Baroque churches, the Norman Royal Palace or wander through lively street markets.


The Accommodation…

Designed and styled by Olga Polizzi, the Rocco Forte Private Villas are inspired by Sicily’s natural beauty and incorporate the characteristic features of a traditional ‘baglio’ building: picture wooden beams, flat roofs, spacious terraces and external stairs. The villas look over the Mediterranean and the rest of the award-winning resort. The three and four-bedroom properties not only offer total privacy and comfort, they allow the most active guests an unparalleled level of services and new activities, including direct access to the spa, six clay tennis courts, two padel courts and the two championship golf courses.

The private villas have proper kitchens, and guests can choose to have a chef cook on site or order from one of the four restaurants within the resort. A welcome box is delivered to each kitchen on arrival containing all the ingredients needed for a true Italian feast – think pasta, olive oil, amaretti, sea salt and seasonal vegetables from the Verdura gardens. A dedicated butler service is also available upon request.

The Extra-Special Access…

A secluded private sandy beach is reserved for villa guests who want to have a quieter day by the water and there are also opportunities to cruise the Sicilian inlets on Verdura Resort’s 18-metre yacht. There’s also a six-seater helicopter which can carry villa guests directly from Palermo airport to the resort’s back garden in 20 minutes. The most insatiable of explorers can also hire Icarus for some astounding views of Sicily, flying over Selinunte and the Valley of the Temples, circling the crater of Mount Etna or nipping over to the Aeolian islands for lunch.

Back at the resort, villa guests will be assigned one of the ‘canoscituri’ – a ‘man in the know’ who will take them on local adventures, from a contemporary art picnic on Cretto di Burri, a land art masterpiece by the artist Alberto Burri, to a day spent in Caltabellotta with the local shepherds and farmers learning about the essentials of life. If you’re going to show your children what relaxed Italian life is all about, this is certainly one of the best ways to do it.

Verdura Resort, Sicily, Italy, 92019


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