About half way along the Sicily’s North Coast is Cefalu, and just a little further is the tiny village of Castel di Tusa which at first glance has little to offer; a bar emitting pop music and the whiff of a typical café kitchen, a few fishing boats pulled up on the harbour front, a coach of schoolchildren. Except it happens to be home to one of the most extraordinary hotels you are ever likely to check into. Atelier sul Mare is the brainchild of Antonio Presti, who had the insane idea that guests would travel miles off the beaten track to a hotel that allowed you to stay and sleep inside a piece of art.
Sixteen or so of its 40 rooms have been created by an international collection of artists who have been given the freedom to push the boundaries of what constitutes a hotel room to the very limit. We chose the Pasolini Room (also called the Prophet Room) by Dario Bellezza, Adele Camria and Antonio himself. The black metal door is covered with Pier Paolo Pasolini’s poetry, cantilevered so we can knock it down should we want to, and opens into an impossibly narrow, pitch-dark corridor which requires us to turn our wheelie suitcases sideways. The room is large and all walls and ceilings are plastered with straw and mud. It shouldn’t work, but it does! The effect is at first perplexing, then strangely comforting.
The other rooms are equally enthralling and each is totally different. Antonio has also set up a contemporary sculpture park in the hills behind the town — an unlikely discovery and an unexpected pleasure.
More about Atelier sul Mare coming soon…
Read more about Palermo, Erice, Siracusa and Taormina on My Big Sicilian Road Trip
Atelier sul Mare, via Cesare Battisti 4, 98079 Castel di Tusa, Sicily.
T: +39 0921 334 295 W: ateliersulmare.it
Words & Photos: © Ken Sparkes All Rights Reserved.