A Sicilian Odyssey
Maxim|January - February 2022
A luxurious tour of Sicily is even more enticing at the wheel of the new Bentley GT Speed Convertible
By Nicolas Stecher

High in the darkening Sicilian sky above us clouds pile up like boulders, their black bellies outlined in a brilliant white from the sun hidden above. We’ve nev-er seen anything quite like it. No wonder this country is so religious—with a celestial display like this it’s easy to understand people believing in a petulant deity who smites sinners yet cares enough to cut through the darkness with his light.

Then comes the crackling thunder. Rolling north from the Mediterranean over the hills towards our zooming Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible, the boom never arrives. I’m unsure if we outrun it or if the combustion from the engine overshadows its clap, what with the twin-turbo powerplant’s dozen cylinders firing their own boisterous orchestra. Even with the sound system turned off to enjoy the petroleum howls of the British coupe, the leitmotif of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” echoes in my head. The drama is high.

This is God’s Country. Or in Sicily’s sake, gods (plural), as over the past three millennia a pantheon of deities has claimed this land as theirs. Zeus, Thor, Osiris, Jupiter, Taranis, Yahweh and many more have at one point or another claimed dominion over this rocky outcrop on the Mediterranean. So it is with great piety that we whip the GT Speed’s 650 horses over these empty roads, deeper into the darkening valley towards the welcoming shelter of our hotel. Past vineyards we zoom at speeds well into the triple digits, top down on our ice-blue chariot, hair clawed by damp air thick with anxiety that the sky is about to burst over us like an overfilled balloon. Sure we could pull over and raise the roof—but what would be the fun in that?

Here we fear nothing. Something about the new $300,000 con vertible’s calm assurance removes any trace of unease. No inclement weather could wash away our joy. Just as we pull past the heavy gate of the Il San Corrado di Noto resort, safely under the valet’s umbrella, the thunder finally cracks open, and with it the sky, unleashing a flood of water. But it’s too late for Thor or Zeus to smite us as we take shelter by the warm hearth of the region’s first five-star hotel, to enjoy a meal by Ciccio Sultano, San Corrado’s 2021 consultant chef and owner of the two-Michelin starred Duomo Restaurant nearby.

Previously a vast olive grove, wine cellar, and citrus grove, the 34-room resort spread out over 14 hectares was inspired by the famed Aman resorts—specifically by their expert use of space, superb architecture, service and privacy. The vast pools, one bigger than a soccer pitch, and secluded nature of the well-appointed rooms are evidence that the homage is an unquestioned success.

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