What sort of holiday person are you? Are you the first to stake your position by the pool, ready for a week of basking in the sun? Or do you devote months before your trip to planning a week crammed full of activities and researching the best local restaurants?

The truth is that while some of us are firmly in either the chill-out or action-packed camp, many of us fall somewhere between the two. Catching up on local culture is always welcome but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to spend every day sightseeing. Similarly, while you might like the idea of learning to cook on holiday, you may not want to spend a full five days in the kitchen.

Then there’s the logistics. Planning your own excursions and activities is hugely time-consuming, particularly if you’re not familiar with the area.

One option is to join a pre-organised guided group tour. This is an excellent option if you’re fairly sociable and are confident that the tour is well-researched and well-run.

Of course the one thing that can never be guaranteed is whether the group will gel. A good tour leader will do all they can to smooth out any wrinkles but spending a week with strangers is not always plain sailing.

One way round this is to organise a closed group holiday. That way, you get to holiday with all your favourite people and can jet off without any of the normal concerns about everyone getting on or having the same interests. Certainly, when a big group is living in close quarters and spending virtually every waking minute together, there will inevitably be some friction, but that’s to be expected. The point is, you’ll be aware of irritations and potential clashes before your trip.

Our new Cooking & Culture in Sicily week for small groups of friends or families, is designed to introduce you to a cross-section of the best of the island, including a little bit of everything. We’ll be there to meet you at the airport, ready for a week of cooking classes in your villa, visits to the market with the chef, wine-tasting, trips to Mount Etna and the Aeolian Islands, and much more besides. But importantly, there’s also time to curl up with a book or catch up with friends by the pool – after all, it is a holiday!

Pizzo dell'Ovo estate
Pizzo dell’Ovo estate

You’ll also find a higher level of luxury.  Villa Dionisio and Pizzo dell’Ovo, where our Cooking & Culture weeks take place, feature hotel-style en suite bedrooms and stunning living spaces.  And just to make sure you feel fully pampered, we’ll make sure your fridge is stocked with cheese, fruit and traditional Sicilian delicacies, and take care of your daily cleaning!

So, with no demands on your time, you can start your day with a leisurely swim before a coffee by the pool and a delicious breakfast which we’ll prepare and lay out for you in the kitchen. Lunches and dinners are also organised, either in the villa or at a local restaurant. All you need to do is be ready for your private driver and English-speaking guide who will whisk you off somewhere different each day!

What are you waiting for? The Cooking & Culture in Sicily weeks can be booked year round, for groups of between 10-30 people – your friends will be queuing up!