Saturday, November 28, 2009


This article of mine was published in Italy Magazine on Thursday. It was so interesting to meet Marilena and her husband and I thought all of you would like to meet them, too:


Meeting Marilena Lorefice and her husband Fabrizio Poidomani is both a pleasure and an opportunity for a fascinating lesson in the history of the Sicilian nobility, for Marilena belongs to one of the oldest families in Sicily. Her thirteenth century ancestor, Sigismundo, fought in the Holy Land and, following a victory in 1263, was rewarded by the Pope with extensive estates in Sicily. The family, originally from Naples, transferred its seat to the island and their name derives from their coat of arms in which the lion carries bay – Latin “laurea” and Italian “alloro” – as a symbol of victory and Latin “fero” – to bear.

Many male Lorefice of past generations are buried in the Co-Cathedral of St John on Malta , having become Knights of Malta because of an unusual tradition devised and followed by aristocratic Sicilian families: if a mother had borne several sons, only two were allowed to marry so as not to divide the family; the others would become celibate Knights of Malta.

Fabrizio’s family is a noble one, too, having arrived in Sicily from Spain in the seventeenth century. The two families have been connected by marriage for several generations.

Marilena inherited the historic Lorefice house, originally a sixteenth century farmhouse, and its adjoining watchtower, the Torre del Cozzoverro. “Cozzo” refers to the location of the house on a hill and “verro” to the Roman magistrate and governor of Sicily, Verres. Cozzoverro functioned as a look-out tower and below it was another tower, the Torre di Commaldo [1300], which is still family property. When the look-outs at the Torre di Cozzoverro espied the Turkish enemy approaching from the sea, the 2,000 inhabitants from nearby dwellings would rush to the Torre di Commaldo to hide.

Now Marilena and Fabrizio have lovingly restored the house and watchtower, together known as the Torre del Cozzoverro. They live there themselves at Christmas and for one month in the summer and rent the property out at other times of the year. Surrounded by meadows, wheatfields and a carefully tended garden, the house has external sloping walls dating from 1700. The house has a living room, dining room, kitchen and downstairs bathroom plus a loft with: 1 double bedroom + 2 single beds , 1 triple bedroom + 1 double bed, 1 double bedroom and 3 bathrooms. The tower has a living room, study and kitchen plus 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom and 1 bathroom on the first floor. The property has 2 swimming pools with a changing room and 2 bathrooms near them plus 2 external showers. Lucia the chef is available on request to prepare traditional local food such as gli arancini di Montalbano [Montalbano’s riceballs] and focaccia for guests.

The Torre del Cozzoverro is ideally located for visits to the nearby Baroque towns of Modica, Ragusa and Noto, the unspoilt countryside of the Cava d’Ispica and the beaches of the Marina di Modica and Vendicari.

Further information and rental costs can be obtained from Di Casa in Sicilia and from CV Travel in the UK.

Pictures of the house appear here with the kind permission of Di Casa in Sicilia.

Today Marilena and Fabrizio run a business, bring up their child and study English. Marilena also paints.

Marilena with one of her paintings.


CherryPie said...

It looks a wonderful place to stay :-)

Ellee Seymour said...

I agree, it is stunning. And she looks stunning too. I would never wear black boots over white trousers like that, but they look great on her.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Wow what a fabulous place to stay :-)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I think it must be, Cherie. Hi, Ellee. Yes, stunning. I agree - the outfit looks great on Marilena.


View My Stats