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Vacation Dreaming: Elegant Simplicity on the Italian Island of Pantelleria

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Vacation Dreaming: Elegant Simplicity on the Italian Island of Pantelleria

June 21, 2019

When Julie showed me images of Tenuta Borgia on the island of Pantelleria, named One of the 10 Best Secret Islands in Europe by Condé Nast Traveler, I felt a spark of recognition. The rustic stone lodging, the white-washed walls, the sparkling pool, the unrelenting sun—I had most definitely never been there before (I wish!), yet it all seemed eerily familiar.

Turns out, the estate, which consists of seven dammusi (one-story houses made of volcanic rock), plays a prominent role in Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash, starring Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes. The director, who also helmed Call Me By Your Name, another European-set film with shabby-elegant homes, called it “a dream setting.” We can see why.

Join us for a tour of two of Tenuta Borgia‘s dammusi.

Dammuso Grande

Dammuso Grande is the largest of the seven rentals and can accommodate up to eight guests. It has been officially declared a “monument” by the Italian Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and Landscape.
Above: Dammuso Grande is the largest of the seven rentals and can accommodate up to eight guests. It has been officially declared a “monument” by the Italian Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and Landscape.
Pantelleria is geographically closer to Tunisia than to Italy, and it shows in the dominant architecture and interior style on the island.
Above: Pantelleria is geographically closer to Tunisia than to Italy, and it shows in the dominant architecture and interior style on the island.
A simple arrangement of olive branches on a marble-topped credenza. Tenuta Borgia also has a working olive orchard and vineyard on the property.
Above: A simple arrangement of olive branches on a marble-topped credenza. Tenuta Borgia also has a working olive orchard and vineyard on the property.
Mixing tile designs works when they’re in the same palette.
Above: Mixing tile designs works when they’re in the same palette.
An emphasis on wood and white creates a soothing color scheme.
Above: An emphasis on wood and white creates a soothing color scheme.
Each dammuso has alcoved windows and shelving.
Above: Each dammuso has alcoved windows and shelving.
The beautifully tiled sink in the bathroom.
Above: The beautifully tiled sink in the bathroom.
The sparkling pool (which features prominently in the movie). Several of the dammusi on the property include private pools. Rates start at €3,700 per week for the low season.
Above: The sparkling pool (which features prominently in the movie). Several of the dammusi on the property include private pools. Rates start at €3,700 per week for the low season.

Dammuso Vigna

A small, tidy kitchen in Dammuso Vigna, which can accommodate a couple.
Above: A small, tidy kitchen in Dammuso Vigna, which can accommodate a couple.
The quintessence of simplicity in the bedroom.
Above: The quintessence of simplicity in the bedroom.
Dammuso Vigna is small, but it has a sizeable outdoor space.
Above: Dammuso Vigna is small, but it has a sizeable outdoor space.
An outdoor kitchen is to the left of the dining table.
Above: An outdoor kitchen is to the left of the dining table.
A thatched roof provides respite from the sun. Dammuso Vigna’s rate starts at €700 per week for the low season.
Above: A thatched roof provides respite from the sun. Dammuso Vigna’s rate starts at €700 per week for the low season.

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