The Monastery Loft

  • Location: Town / Village
    Cathedral and Palazzo Nicolaci: In walking distance (50-70 meters)
    Caffè Sicilia: In walking distance (80 meters)
    Restaurants and shops: In walking distance
    Closest beaches: 15 mins by car
  • Catania Airport (CTA): 90km (1h by car)
    Car recommended
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An introduction to The Monastery Loft

What is the story behind it, what was your inspiration to buy the property?

The loft is in Noto, a beautiful town that was constructed during the Baroque Epoch after the previous town was destroyed during an earthquake. Because it was largely abandoned (until a few decades ago), there were some excellent opportunities to save a beautiful place. 

Prior to purchasing the property, it was occupied by a family who had reconfigured it as an apartment. It had been poorly developed but we saw the potential. The idea was to take it back to its original layout when it was a monastery. Later, it was occupied by a bishop who created a seminary here.

While it wasn’t possible to recover the space exactly as it was (it had been partially destroyed during the 1970s renovation), we peeled back what had been done and created what you see today.

Our first guests stayed in August 2023, just after we finished the renovations. 

How would you describe the atmosphere and the interior design the loft?

The building was created by a well-known architect, Rosario Gagliardi, who was responsible for a lot of beautiful buildings in Sicily. When you find yourself with something that was created by a genius, it’s difficult to do anything — we feared changing things at all! So our idea was to minimalise the concept and give ourselves (and guests) an essential experience. We wanted to go back to it as a sanctuary, when all you could see outside the windows were olive and almond trees. 

I’m a real estate entrepreneur and my wife is an artist, so we designed everything together. I’m passionate about art and history, and try to find beautiful spaces and repurpose them while incorporating my point of view. Locally, there is an ancient tradition of handcrafting, so we had all of the pieces custom-built using local materials and local experience.

Because the space is very big and we didn’t want to fill it with a lot of things, we designed all of the furniture to be oversized. In a photograph, it’s all proportional, so you don’t get the full idea. But it’s a nice impact when you step inside and realize how big it all is. 

Staying at the loft is an overwhelming experience — it’s the most peaceful place in downtown Noto. The silence and the amazing light that enters all day long through the massive windows — it’s really something unexpected. It goes beyond just being a real estate piece. It gives you an amazing sense of well-being. We wanted it to be a place where we and our guests could relax in the best way possible.

To you personally, what is so special about the loft?

It’s the kind of relaxation I can achieve once I am sitting in silence. It takes you to a special place and transmits something that goes beyond what you experience in other properties. It’s something you feel when you are looking at the sunset through the windows. 

The Loft
Kitchen
View from bedroom
The loft
Bathroom
Bathroom
Bedroom
Views
Terrace
Plunge pool
Plunge pool
Kitchen
Kitchen and piano
Kitchen and piano
Evening views
Evening views
Plunge pool

The Monastery Loft rooms & rates

The loft occupies a 17th-century monastery that was split into a condominium, so there are a few apartments now. You walk through a courtyard and up a flight of stairs, then at the end of the corridor, there is a massive iron gate that leads to a terrace. This overlooks a square and the valley beyond. 

Once you are on the terrace, you’ll notice an abundance of plants (I am passionate about plants) — some are very old and most are local. There is also a small, shaded pool (2x2 metres) as summers here are hot! The best way to cool yourself down is to dip in the pool several times a day. The breeze coming from the sea is always warm, but with the windows open, it cools the space down. 

The loft is quite big and has a perfectly tuned piano that my wife plays constantly when we’re there. The bed is in an alcove (which offers a unique experience) and was crafted by a local artisan to be higher, taller and bigger than standard. It’s not totally shielded, so you can see the entire space while you’re in bed.

What’s unique is the deconstructed bathroom. It’s not a separate room where you bathe but is largely part of the loft. There is a private room for the water closet but the sink is within the main loft space — you barely recognize it as it’s a huge piece of stone. The shower is in one corner and is shielded by a few big plants that offer privacy. It’s an original layout for a bathroom.

Also within the loft space is a fully equipped kitchen in brass. It’s a practical but essential design — everything is there but it’s hidden.

  • The Monastery Loft for 2 people / 190 m²
    980 / night
    • 1 Double bedroom
    • 1 Bathroom (ensuite)
    • 1 Living room
    • 1 Kitchen
    • Terrace
    • Balcony
    • Air conditioning
Included in the rates
Rates include taxes, linen and towels.
Children & Extra beds
Sorry, the place is only suitable for adults.
Minimum stay
2 nights
Check in time
after 16:00
Check out time
before 11:00

Facilities & services

  • Terrace
  • Swimming pool
  • WiFi
  • Air conditioning
  • Washing machine
  • Not suitable for children
  • Music system
  • Central heating
  • Hair dryer

Small plunge pool, slightly heated in the colder months. The kitchen is fully equipped with everything you might need, from an oven to a microwave, from a kettle to an espresso machine. We also have a 6-bottle wine cellar.

Things to do in Sicily & Noto

  • Art / Culture
  • Shopping / Markets
  • Wine tastings
  • Massages / Treatments

I would recommend spending a few days in Noto, then using it as a base to explore southern Sicily. Within 25 minutes’ drive, you can be in the amazing city of Syracuse and Modica is 40 minutes away. Several other towns worth visiting are just 10 minutes from Noto. 

The beaches around Lido di Noto are beautiful but those in Vendicari are something special. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dive with beautiful fish and see birds that have migrated from Africa. For a few months each year, we have these amazing birds that have travelled halfway around the world and they choose to rest in Vendicari because it is such a special place.

The location of The Monastery Loft

The loft is located 50 metres from the main street and the cathedral of Noto. In Italy, the cities usually start from the square in front of the cathedral and we are two minutes’ walk away. Everything in the town — the nobleman buildings, the churches, the monasteries — is within walking distance. 

Through the windows, you can see the sea and the closest beaches and beachside restaurants are seven or eight minutes by car. Around 15-20 minutes away is the huge natural reserve of Vendicari, which, in my opinion, has the nicest beaches. Within 15 minutes’ drive, you can also be in the mountains where the scenery looks more like Scotland than Sicily. The temperature changes very quickly too. 

Noto was born beautiful. During its decadent period, it was not valued as it should have been. Now, we have better walking paths, some of the streets are car-free, and it is cleaner and more organised. Aside from the beauty of this magnificent baroque town, you have amazing nature just steps away. 

I also think Noto is an interesting place to stay because it is a developing community. In the last decade, it has attracted foreigners and Italians from the mainland. Of Noto’s small population, lots are foreigners, so it’s a variegated community. 

When is the best time to visit Sicily?

I think Sicily is quite generous with its climate and can be visited year round. December and January might be a little bit cold (down to around 8 degrees at night), so it’s not so great for the beaches and some shops may be closed. But it’s very peaceful during this period. 

Summer is quite hot, so you need to be prepared for that. July and August are good for Mediterranean people but not for everyone. During this time, there is a lot going on — every day there is something interesting to do. 

I would recommend guests have a look at the temperatures and choose what most appeals to them. My personal preference is May/June and September/October. The temperatures are warm but not too hot and you can still go to the beach every day.