Hotel Villa Athena, Agrigento, Sicily
Immersed in the Archaeological Park of the Valley of the Temples, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, "Villa Athena", the only 5-star hotel, is located in front of the Temple of Concordia, a true masterpiece of Doric art of the 5th century BC, from which it is only 200 metres away: Sicily of the millennia is here.
Princely residence of the late eighteenth century, Villa Athena, thanks to the foresight of the founder Avv. Francesco D’Alessandro, became a hotel in 1972 following a conservative restoration that left the architectural style of the time unchanged.
The hotel garden also houses the clearly visible remains of an early Christian basilica built between the 5th and 6th centuries BC. The discovery of the liturgical furnishings as well as the presbytery enclosure are a clear testimony of this.
From the gardens also comes the discovery of the famous and refined marble pluteus dated between the end of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth century AD which testifies with its reliefs the Christian presence in the Valley until the Islamic conquest. Staying at Villa Athena means immersing yourself in the history and myth of which the temples, all around, are a spectacular manifestation of eternal suggestion.
The recent completion of the restoration and redevelopment of the villa has greatly increased the beauty and exclusivity of the hotel. The refined and refined furnishings seem to blend with the comfort of the splendid suites overlooking the temples and the park of centuries-old olive trees.
The recent restoration of the hotel has resulted in a profound renovation of the entire villa and of the 25 rooms and suites with views of the temples and or of the park of centuries-old olive trees.
The atmosphere that recalls the noble tradition of this "home" pervades the rooms and suites where everything is original and unique with refined furnishings and impeccable service, enriched by the warmth and friendliness typical of Sicily.
All rooms are equipped with: air conditioning, LCD TV, direct dial telephone, free internet access, minibar, safe, hairdryer, wake up service. Some rooms have a private SPA, stereo CD and DVD player.
Restaurants and Bar
Tasting Sicilian cuisine is an unforgettable experience. Seduced by the suggestive view of the Temples, at "La Terrazza degli Dei gourmet signature" with an expriential tasting menu, the tables overlook the magnificent millenary temples of the goddess Concordia and Juno, a magical place surrounded by almond and olive trees where the new Chef Valentino Palmisano creates a gourmet cuisine of the highest level.
The “Federico II Restaurant”, dedicated to the memory of the King of Swabia on the park of the Villa which merges with the landscape of almond and olive trees that surrounds the magnificent millenary temples all around. Placed in front, the Temple of Concordia rises majestically and imperishable.
The unique atmosphere that reigns in this place accompanies a lunch or dinner suspended between myth and history, almost as if the gods gave this privilege to the villa.
The magnificent balcony opens onto the park of the residence which seems to merge with the rest of the surrounding nature creating a single dimension up to the Temple of Concordia which rises majestically in the background, almost a theatrical backdrop, and makes the spectators feel an unrepeatable premiere.
The Chef Valentino Palmisano
Born in 1981, Valentino Palmisano was born in Naples and began working while attending the hotel school in Bagnoli, where he graduated for catering services. It is "La sacristia", a well-known restaurant of the time in the city, which offered him his first experience in the kitchen, under the guidance of Felice Ponari, and it was following Ponari that he moved to Milan when the branch of the Neapolitan restaurant opened there. From here on, he always works in top-level restaurants under the guidance of chefs who have made the history of cooking: from the Four Seasons in Milan with Sergio Mei, to the Capri Palace, on the island of the same name, under the guidance of Oliver Glowig. He then moves to the two-star "Don Alfonso" in Sant'Agata dei due golfi by Alfonso Iaccarino, before arriving at "Rossellini's" in Palazzo Sasso in Ravello, under the guidance of Pino Lavarra who he considers one of his two masters, together with Glowig . Thanks to him, he sees his first courses on the menu and it is in that year that the restaurant gets its second Michelin star. Again, he is with Bruno Barbieri at the two-star Michelin restaurant "Arquade" of the Hotel Villa del Quar in the province of Verona, and then at Badrutt's Palace in St. Moritz in Switzerland. His first experience as a chef is at the “La torre” restaurant at the Castello del Nero in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, in the heart of Chianti. In 2010 he follows his wife Ottavia to China and arrives at the "Sabatini" in Shanghai. In 2014 he goes to Japan at the Ritz Carlton in Kyoto where he is called to open the Italian restaurant "La locanda". He stops until, in 2017, he has the opportunity to return to Italy, driving the "Vespasia" of Palazzo Seneca, in a Norcia still suffering from the earthquakes of the second half of 2016. Despite this, thanks to his work and the commitment of the owners and the whole staff, he has the satisfaction of seeing confirmed the star that the Michelin guide had awarded the restaurant the previous year and which is maintainsed to this day. In 2020, the rampant pandemic offers him the opportunity to reflect on his own future. Palmisano in fact feels a strong desire to land in Sicily, thanks to his Sicilian wife Ottavia and his two children who grew up mostly on the island. And this is how, as soon as he is offered the kitchen guide of the Villa Athena hotel, in the heart of the Archaeological Park of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, he takes the ball and launches into the umpteenth adventure, the one that, according to prospects, will finally allow him to take root.
Palmisano's cuisine is intimately full of his experiences. It is in fact an authentic Italian cuisine in constant evolution that is positively affected by the different geographical and cultural perspectives, without however ever losing its soul. Each proposal recognizes a path that makes study and precision the central fulcrum of its philosophy. His tastings see all the dishes as protagonists, none predominating over the others and each with its own distinct identity, like a concert in which each instrument plays in harmony with the others, contributing to the perfection of execution. It is a cuisine that always reads the territory in which it is located, a territory explored, studied, discovered from time to time and, only when it is intimately introjected by the chef, does it give the idea for the creation of dishes that are always simple to read and supported by the best materials. first local of the season, as well as aesthetically clean and recognizable. Palmisano declares himself to be the guardian of the ancient culinary traditions which, in his interpretation, travel through the channel of personal memory, claiming the subjectivity of memory. With this in mind, the recipes he draws on are re-proposed in a perfect balance between historical respect and personal sensitivity, supported by the most modern culinary techniques. It is no coincidence that his signature dish is spaghetti with tomato sauce, the result of years of research that saw the light in Japan, after 6 months of experimentation. The Palmisano tomato spaghetti reflects its history, its identity, bringing one of the symbolic dishes of Italy back to an international level, while maintaining its Italian soul and ancient taste in a modern aesthetic key. The difference, even in this case, is made by the ingredients carefully selected by the chef who, as it should be for a dish that is a symbol of a nation, come from all over its territory: from the Senatore Cappelli tailor-made wheat spaghetti directly from the mountains Sibillini, to the selection of the tomato, on which stands the Apulian Dolcemiele datterino; from Itrana gentile extra virgin olive oil from Campania, whose fruit already has hints of tomato in itself, to Brown Cow Parmigiano Reggiano, to which maturing for 26 months gives it sweetness and aroma; from small-leaf basil from Basilicata, to garlic from San Pellegrino in Norcia. Because the journey never ends.
The dining opportunities offered by Villa Athena are many. In addition to the terraces, it is possible to taste the Sicilian tradition at the "Granaio di Ibla", a name that is a tribute to the writer Sergio Campailla who dedicated his novel "The earthly paradise" to Villa Athena calling it, for poetic license, "Villa Ibla". A bright, modern and refined environment welcomes its guests with impeccable service.
The restaurant's open cellar is of great interest.
A unique and particular feature of the restaurant, then, is the presence of an ancient Greek cistern, visible through the glass flooring, illuminated so that the channels from which the water flowed, carved into the tufa rock, are still clearly visible. The cistern was also used by the Romans and later by the Christians who created a sepulchral niche that is still visible in the twentieth century and was used briefly as a granary.
The Patio Lounge, a sitting area on the patio of the ancient villa, is finally the ideal place for those who want to enjoy a cocktail or sip a tea, in a private setting, admiring the original eighteenth-century columns that surround it and the precious Caltagirone ceramics.
Hotel "Villa Athena", the only five-star hotel immersed in the archaeological park of the Valley of the Temples, has always represented a goal: returning home with a renewed wealth of experience and knowledge is the crowning of a dream.
The garden is also suitable for the presentation of products or the organization of fashion shows. On these occasions, the “La Terrazza degli Dei” restaurant will be able to organize coffee breaks, business lunches and gala dinners.
State-of-the-art technical equipment, free wi-fi, efficient service and professionalism in catering guarantee the success of every event.
Villa Athena offers the exclusive romantic backdrop for your wedding photo shoot. A banquet set in a luxury setting, in turn, framed by the millenary history of the Valley of the Temples. Let the experts of the Hotel Villa Athena assist you in organizing your wedding. A team of professionals coordinated by the wedding planner will be able to fulfill your every wish. The location offers its customers multiple and varied solutions: lunches or dinners served for the more traditional, large buffets for the more dynamic, cocktail parties for the more informal, to be customized in the splendid rooms and in the enchanting garden.
Visit the website: https://www.hotelvillaathena.it/en/