Rocco Forte Hotels

Our flagship resort is now in its second decade, and General Manager Giacomo Battafarano has been at its helm for a year. Ahead of Verdura Resort’s reopening, we ask him to tell us about his highlights to date, what we can look forward to in the coming months and the activities he’d recommend to visitors.

How would you summarise your first season at Verdura Resort?

“It’s been a year already? I feel like a guest saying that time has passed too quickly – although it hasn’t felt rushed. It’s been quality time. It has been challenging but satisfying for me and my team. We never forget how lucky we are to do a job we love in a corner of paradise.”

What’s new for 2020?

“We’re working on some important projects to further enhance the resort’s offering. Among them is the launch of 20 new villas with private pools and up to four bedrooms each. 

Additionally, we’re always working on our range of experiences to help guests make the most of our resort. For example, this year we’ll be offering diving classes for the first time. And among the celebrities our guests can train with, they’ll find world champions including footballers Gianluca Zambrotta and David Trezeguet and tennis star Gilles Müller.”

What makes Verdura Resort such a unique destination, especially for golfers?

“We’re set on 230 hectares, and there’s so much for guests to do and see, and so many ways to explore – by bicycle, boat or even helicopter. Then there’s our flagship Verdura Spa with its Irene Forte Rituals, Verdùland for children, and plenty more. For golfers in particular – besides the sheer range of tech, equipment and training sessions we offer – it’s the Sicilian sea views from every hole that really make it amazing.”

Are you a golf enthusiast?

“I do like to play and whenever possible I take a break with a few holes. I’ve not yet had time for all the lessons I’d like to take to improve myself. I’m thinking of taking advantage of the new tools at the Golf Performance Institute, like Trackman or 4D Motion - when I get around to it!”

What does a day in the life of Giacomo Battafarano look like?

“There’s lots to do, from sample checks to greeting guests and meetings, but I’m always with my team, at the service of our guests, making sure every request is satisfied in a personalised manner.”

What, in your opinion, is a must for guests at the resort?

“A cocktail on the Granita Bar terrace during one of our incredible Sicilian sunsets is an incomparable experience.”

And what about outside the resort?

“Personally, I’d recommend taking a Porsche down the coastline. It’s a journey through the culture and history of the region. I particularly enjoy the drive to the Valle dei Templi, tasting local cuisine in the villages along the way, talking with fishermen in the sun, seeing locals at work producing handicrafts – it’s a very colourful experience.”

Verdura's a great place for families. What does your family like about it?

“We all have our own space as well as the opportunity to spend quality time together. And, like the families who have stayed here as guests, we’ve had so many firsts here: first bicycle rides, first taste of a new dish…”

Can you share something about yourself?

“Wherever my work has taken me and my family, we’ve always had the good fortune to meet friends who have, over time and sometimes over long distances, remained present in our lives in one way or another. This is the second time we’re living in Sicily, so it’s like coming home.”

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