As travel restrictions continue to ease across the world, Hollywood stars have reverted to their international jet-setting habits.
Sicily has been one of Hollywood’s favorite vacation spots this year – Jon Hamm, Harrison Ford and Stanley Tucci have all been spotted vacationing on the Mediterranean island – given that it’s a place where travelers can immerse themselves in the rich Mediterranean culture of the region. Some stars are even choosing to settle more permanently on the island, as Sicily’s high-end real estate clientele continues to expand.
At the start of the pandemic, Italy was one of the first countries hit hard by the rapid spread of the coronavirus. The announcement of strict closures, devastating losses and overwhelmed hospitals marked the start of what was to come for countries around the world in 2020. Today, the tourist hotspot has apparently bounced back from its days in lockdown .
Specifically, Noto – a town in south-eastern Sicily known for its Baroque architecture – has grown in popularity. With around 30,000 inhabitants, Noto is a lively small town with important architectural buildings and nature reserves, located a short distance from the beaches of Sicily.
Sotheby’s International Realty Italy Residential sales manager Diletta Giorgolo Spinola spoke with Hollywood journalist why Sicily has caught the attention of Hollywood, including Los Angeles residents looking for second homes in the area.
“The weather is extremely nice and mild in winter,” Spinola said. “It is a mixture of culture, beautiful archaeological sites, beautiful nature, many wildlife reserves, many places for the beach and the wonderful city.”
She continued, “And it’s easy to reach. There are a lot of airports with a lot of inbound and outbound flights from everywhere. We had clients from London who came during the pandemic who already had properties, and they did the lockdown there because they said, ‘If I have to spend the winter closed, at least when I go out. in my garden, I have sun. ‘”
From Rome, the flight to Sicily takes less than an hour to just 40 minutes, while the flight from London arrives in just under 3 hours. Until a year ago, Sotheby’s Italian branch did not even have an office in Sicily, but chose to open one due to high demand for properties.
Due to nondisclosure agreements with prominent clients, Spinola has been unable to name some of the Hollywood stars who have recently made Sicily their home. Mick Jagger – who has already chosen Sicily as his holiday destination – would have bought a house in the area earlier this year.
Famous designer Jacques Garcia put his heart and soul into developing his first home – the Chateau du Champ de Bataille in Normandy, France – but it was Noto’s charming appeal that prompted him to invest in a second property in the Sicilian town.
“The Battlefield takes up my time, my energy, my thoughts, my dreams, my anxieties and my happiness,” Garcia said via email to Hollywood journalist. “Finding new accommodation therefore seemed totally unsuited to my personality. Then I fell in love with three things [in Noto]: on the one hand, the preservation of the site – the fact of discovering a place still virgin since it had been abandoned again after the earthquake of 1693 – as neighbors, the historic baroque city classified as a UNESCO heritage, and the sea.”
As for his thoughts on Sicily’s trendy new status as a premier destination for Hollywood gamers, Garcia said “this is great news”.
“I don’t think this is a trend that is going to fade away,” Garcia continued. “The wonderful weather all year round, the wonderful sea, the art and the nicest people, the Sicilians. What more can you ask for? “
So far, Italy Sotheby’s Ludovica Infantino has confirmed that Italy has returned to a predominantly pre-pandemic state.
“This summer we weren’t affected at all,” Infantino said. “We currently have no restrictions because of vaccinations, so people can come here and travel.”
“Tourism is back,” Spinola added, of the post-pandemic climate in Sicily. “This summer there were as many people as before, so I would say nothing has really changed. We have a very good national public health system [in Italy], so even if you are a foreigner, if something happens to you, our hospitals will welcome you.
During times of COVID restrictions, Sicily uses a zone method, marking certain areas where there are limitations, such as nightclubs and bars.
Infantino also noted that frequent celebrity vacationers in Sicily include Richard Gere, Keira Knightley, and Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
According to the Italian office of Sotheby’s, there are currently no restrictions for American buyers looking to buy real estate in Sicily. Regarding real estate price ranges, Spinola cited a range of 400,000 to 4 million euros, which works out to approximately $ 462,176 to $ 4,621,800 in US dollars.