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Ciao BELLA! SALINA'S PRIVATE AND LUXURIOUS BOUTIQUE HOTEL IS PURE POETRY.

Byline: Demelza de Burca

N h th th th 19 19 19 1995 95 95 fil il il il l Il Il Il P i ti ti ti M i IN the 1995 film Il Postino, Mario Ruoppolo, the gentle postman of the title, tells the real life Chilean poet Pablo Neruda "poetry doesn't belong to those who write it, it belongs to those who need it".

Set and partly filmed on the island of Salina, one of the beautiful Aeolian Islands, Il Postino proved to be an enormous success and made quite an impact on my 15-year-old self.

A huge fan of the Italian flick it's taken me almost 20 years to visit Salina.

To celebrate the momentous occasion myself and The Architect checked into the romantic Hotel Signum on the outskirts of Malfa.

It lies halfhidden among Malfa's citrus groves and winding lanes and looks down over indigo seas - which are 10 minutes away.

We were shown to our stunning suite which boasts all mod cons and a balcony that opens on to blossom and birdsong.

In 1988, husband and wife owners Clara Rametta and Michele Caruso had a dream of creating a luxury hotel in the village in which they were born.

In typical Sicilian style there were many obstacles, largely political, and they were shut down - given a seal, or "sigillo". The Latin derivation of "sigillo" is "signum". Eventually, the mayor's office had a change of heart and Clara and Michele began their venture. They called it Hotel Signum, as an homage to the effort they put into getting it started.

And their dream has become a reality.

It's a favourite with the rich and famous, but Clara is keeping tight-lipped on who has walked through her doors. She does confide that the crew of II Postino stayed in the hotel for a month while filming.

Gastronomically, Salina is best known for three products: fish, capers and a sweet dessert wine called Malvasia delle Lipari and the chefs have incorporated all three into their extensive menu.

We were treated to the tasting menu, a veritable feast where selected, seasonal raw materials gives inspiration to simple dishes, but never dull. It's superb homecooked food in the open-air restaurant and was praised by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver after a recent visit.

And the vino? Hotel Signum is nestled among Malfa's citrus groves The house cellar contains many bottles carefully selected that come from every part of Italy.

After a blissful sleep we enjoyed a buffet breakfast of baked goods and the finest coffee in Sicily, it really is.

The indulgence continued into the late afternoon as we spent hours in the outdoor spa, Spa Salus per Aquam.

The structure of the centre follows the lines of old Aeolian thermal baths, believed the most ancient in Europe.

Intimate and romantic, Signum is the perfect spot for honeymooners.

From the magical atmosphere, excellent food and amazing open-air spa it's easy to see why Signum is still a hot destination for those in search of a little poetry in their lives.

CONTACT www.hotelsignum.it for more details.

CAPTION(S):

Hotel Signum is nestled among Malfa's citrus groves

Luxury spa uses ancient thermal bath methods

Salina is one of the beautiful Aeolian Islands
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 28, 2013
Words:542
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