Secret Hotels of Sicily
Across Sicily, historic villas and farm estates have been reborn as cozy, family-run hotels and agriturismi, or farmstays, where the food is organic and the people are as warm as the ever-present sun.
From early May through early November, Eurofly has two nonstops per week from New York City's JFK to Palermo (euroflyusa.com). Several low-fare carriers fly to Palermo, Trapani, and Catania from dozens of European airports; find out which airlines fly where at dohop.com.
Just about every town in Sicily--and all of Italy--has its share of what used to be called pensioni: private homes and apartments that take in guests for $35 to $80 per person per night. Some of these bed-and-breakfasts (they go with the English name now) have websites, while others are simply names and phone numbers on a list from the tourist office; find links at apt.sicilia.it and regione.sicilia.it/turismo.
One such small B&B is in the heart of Palermo's historic La Kalsa district. The charming Ai Cartari, run by the chatty and gregarious owner, Signora Rosi, rents just two rooms. Guests get a prime location and an all-organic breakfast that includes homemade apricot marmalade. Via Alessandro Paternostro 62, Palermo, 011-39/091-611-6372, aicartari.it, doubles from $148.