Steps away from the tourist stays of Agrigento lies Fontes Episcopi. Far from a hotel, guesthouse, bed and breakfast, or any other type of accommodation, Fontes Episcopi is a Bio Resort that specializes in harmonizing and re-connecting people and the environment the way our ancestors once lived.
Photography property of SVADORE
Go visit the famous Scala dei Turchi and Valley of the Temples in the famous city of Agrigento and you’ll notice that everyone flocks to the beachside resorts or the town itself. Little do they know that just outside Agrigento, in a small town named Aragona, lies a local gem—a restored 19th century farmhouse that opened in 2016 named Bio Resort Fontes Episcopi. I had booked a stay at this intimate 7 room local Bio Resort because of it’s simple message of reconnecting people with nature and going back to a simpler way of life. The term Bio Resort was very vague to me, in fact if you Google the term you will find a very limited amount of information on this type of accommodation, so I assumed it just meant a well-being resort that incorporated food from it’s own garden into the guests stay. However, when we pulled up to the Bio resort I learned that it was SO much more than that. Read on to understand what it is.
We turn left onto a small road that leads us towards the countryside and pull into a gate a couple of miles away from the town. We drive down a long dirt path surrounded by lined trees separating the olive groves on the right from the citrus trees on the left. At the end of the dirt road, we see a round basin that looks like a small swimming pool (that actually turned out to be a gebbia, which I will explain later) and an old restored farmhouse that once belonged to the son of a Baron who used it as his peaceful escape. He eventually became an archbishop and the property was sold to an Italian-American family who eventually sold it to Maurizio to create Fontes Episcopi. As we pull into the back to park our car, the first thing we see is a group of people outside the resort huddled in a circle, making animal noises and moving their bodies in different positions. From that moment we knew we had stepped foot into quite a unique place! We later learned they were doing one of the well-being classes that are offered at the property that help people re-connect with nature.
As we walk through the inner courtyard we are greeted at the reception inside by Kata, the Director of the property, who precedes to hand us a welcome gift. At first sight my mom and I shout out in excitement with – “Ooooh! Is it cheese?!” and “Wowww! White chocolate?!” You can see where our head was at…! Kata proceeded to answer, “No…it’s a handmade bar of soap.” My mom and I couldn’t contain ourselves from giggling; of course the first conclusion we would jump to was food, how typical of us! Instead, it was a beautiful handmade olive oil soap bar, made with olives directly from their garden in-house. My mom and I were shocked at how custom they made this experience from the minute we stepped in. Kata then proceeds to present us with a small bottle of homemade shampoo, again made with all-natural ingredients directly from their garden. This was way better than any piece of artisanal cheese or white chocolate my mother and I could have wanted!!
After receiving our welcome gifts, we are escorted to our Deluxe Room. The antique farmhouse is divided into 7 marvelous and spacious rooms 4 of which are Deluxe and 3 Superior Suites. Each room is named after one of the different plants or foods that come from their garden. We stayed in a room called Miele, or honey. Inside each room, a dedicated and personalized color is used that recalls the plants and food that are cultivated in the Bio Resort’s very own garden. The walls in our room recalled a honeycomb with its hexagon shaped tiles and warm tones of yellow filling up the entire sidewall.
Each room is characterized by unique and refined furnishings that are chosen with attention to detail. We had not noticed at first glance when we stepped into the lobby, but it hit us when we walked into our room. When you step into the property you are surrounded by an incredible collection of antiques added to the simple yet minimal design of the room that leaves a lot of space for one to breathe. For instance, there were old farm milk jugs placed underneath the desk and the bathroom used old milk bottle containers as a towel and accessory holder. These are just a few of the many one-of-a-kind touches the owner Maurizio has added to this property. Being a fond collector of farming antiques, he has spent the last couple of years gathering as many antique pieces as he could to decorate the Bio Resort.
Elegant beds with wooden and upholstered headboards are accompanied by comfortable mattresses and pillows of various support options to ensure the best sleep possible. The rooms overlook the delightful courtyard with vines growing up the walls filled with antique farm artifacts and tools that turn the property into a one-of-a-kind museum. The Superior Suite rooms give you even more access to the property with private terraces overlooking the charming countryside and Fontes Episcopi’s biological garden. All these elements are truly what bring the property to life and make you feel like you have taken a trip back in time. All the rooms consist of a personal A/C unit, mini-fridge, Wi-fi, spacious bathrooms with my favorite fountain shower heads and a line of, hypoallergenic products at your disposal, should you choose not to use their handmade products immediately.
The one thing to note is that to align with the property’s brand message of re-connecting man and woman with the sensational well being and healing properties of the environment, the property does not have phones, TVs, or computers in the room. They feel that this would take away from the experience of re-connecting with nature. This is a place to truly unplug from the world around us. Not to worry however, for people like me who need to keep their readers up-to-date, they do have Wi-Fi throughout the property!
After a long trip from Erice all the way down to Aragona, my mom and I wanted to go for a quick dip in what we thought was the pool, so we went downstairs and asked the owner, Maurizio, for some towels. He explained to us that the round basin at the front of the property is NOT a pool, but rather a gebbia. For those of you who do not know, a gebbia is a natural basin that was used to collect rain water back in the day. Today it is used as a refreshing “dipping pool” sprinkled with the orto or garden’s own handmade rosemary oil, lavender oil, orange blossom and rose petals all added to help heal and restore the body. Where else can you find a place that pays so much attention to the holistic approach of the body that they create a “dipping pool” specifically made to restore one’s body with products made from their very own territorio (earth)? My mom and I jumped at the opportunity to experience this so ran over to the gebbia to watch the sunset while we could.
Before heading up to our room and preparing ourselves for dinner, we decide to take a stroll through the garden. As we walk to the end, we notice an interesting stone artifact. Is it antique? I do not know! But it adds even more charm to the beautiful property. The property drops off at the end and offers breathtaking views to distant farms where you can hear the sound of bells ringing and the bleating sounds of sheep.
On our way back in, Maurizio asks us if we want to take a quick tour of the kitchen and meet their cook for the evening. The heart of Fontes Episcopi lies in the kitchen. This is where the magic happens! The kitchen has been restored but still maintains its 19th century farm charm. Our cook for the night is a local mother who has been cooking local and traditional recipes for years now. No Michelin-starred chef, no Chef who graduated from a high-end culinary institute, but a TRUE local who has lived with this cuisine and understands how to create holistic, healthy, yet extremely delectable meals. They ask us if we are interested in guinea fowl and my mother leaps at the occasion since it’s one of her favorite meats. The cook is pleased and points out that the guinea fowl will be fresh. They had just taken one from flock we had seen in the garden! This is fresh, but to a whole other level. Everything they cook is made using ingredients from their garden and if they don’t have it, they turn to their neighboring farms for the remaining ingredients. Excited for our dinner, we head up to freshen up.
Our four-course meal was comprised of an appetizer, pasta dish, meat dish and dessert. While we were enjoying our appetizer, baked brie over homemade bread with a side of stuffed eggplant, the cook called me in to the kitchen to take a sneak peak of the pasta before it was served to us! It was pasta like I had never had before. I have had homemade pasta many times in my life…but this was REAL pasta, the way our ancestors used to make it. Fontes Episcopi grows an old wheat grain that is used to make the pasta, an antique grain that is no longer grown by many farms because it is no longer practical. The pasta we eat on a daily basis tastes soft because the grain they use has been processed. At Fontes Episcopi you taste pasta like it was once made. The consistency is different than our everyday pasta as it is chewier, harder, and lighter on the stomach. On top of that, they used fresh tomatoes from their garden, which made it even lighter on my stomach!
Our third dish was the guinea fowl we had seen in the afternoon. The dish reminded me of a Moroccan meal. Fresh and tender meat that is simply cooked. The meat doesn’t stick to the bones as it does with non-organic meat. I’m not surprised since Sicily has had multiple invasions over the years that have influenced its cooking, including Morocco. Lastly, for dessert we opted for the fruit option rather than the dessert. A fresh piece of watermelon and a tisane or herbal tea made with their fresh herbs.
We still did not understand the concept of macro-biotics, but that night our stomachs felt better then they had in years. We were satisfied with our meal and bodies felt great. We would learn more about the concept of macrobiotics that is practiced at Fontes Episcopi the following day. To learn more about Fontes Episcopi’s unique Bio Resort, stay tuned for my next post!
For more information regarding Fontes Episcopi or to reserve a one-of-a-kind stay at the property, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Fontes Episcopi. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.
Get insider travel tips and lifestyle content on the world’s most exceptional destinations, experiences and products directly to your inbox. Don’t miss out–sign up for SVADORE on the right hand side.
Follow Svadore on Instagram: @Svadore
Follow Svadore on Twitter: @SvadoreTravels
Follow Svadore on Pinterest: Svadore
Follow Svadore on Facebook: Svadore