Playtime, Pampering and Pasta
by Helen McCrory | British Airways Highlife | August 1, 2010
Actors Helen McCrory and husband Damian Lewis plus their two children head to Sicily for playtime, pampering and pasta.
‘Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, that’s a wrap!’ It’s 1am and I’m standing in a disused industrial park in London in the rain. We’ve been filming the same ten lines for hours now and even the writer has fallen out of love with the scene. But who cares. In 12 hours, I shall be sitting by the pool in Rocco Forte’s Sicilian Verdura Golf & Spa Resort for a week of pampering, peace, pasta and a bit of good old-fashioned shuteye.
My husband Damian and I both know Italy well, but I have never visited Sicily. Damian went there some years ago with a mate on an Edwardian-style grand tour, when he’d quickly learnt the all-important phrase ‘Posso avere una camera con due letti, per favore’ — which translates as ‘a single room with two separate beds, please’ — after they had been presented with a luxurious double bed on their first night. But they stayed in the northern part of the island and Verdura is on the southwest coast between Sciacca, a fishing port, and Agrigento, home to some of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world. The resort also has a children’s crèche, and we have a three-year-old, Manon, and a two-year-old, Gulliver, with energy levels that would put even the Sicilians’ famous love of children to the test. It sounds perfect.
We fly to Catania, where we pick up our car to drive across the island east to west. What a way to see Sicily. Spring has definitely sprung as we drive past orange groves, goatherds and vineyards all under a bright blue sky. With the aid of my superb map reading, we arrive three hours later at the resort’s gate, from which you look down over the golf courses onto the spa, the hotel and the sea. We don’t leave the resort for three days. Our suite has its own entrance with steps leading down to a private, secluded courtyard (perfect for drying wet swimming costumes and nude sunbathing), which in turn opens up into a large elegant sitting room overlooking the ocean, a butler’s kitchen and two bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom.