How it all began
I was lucky enough to grow up in Cefalu, one of the most picturesque places in Sicily. Summers were long and sunny with plenty of time playing at our local beach, exploring the Madonie mountains and meeting friends in the piazza. From a young age I have always loved welcoming visitors to my home town. Whilst having great pride in my Sicilian routes and attached to my family and friends there, I was always curious about the different cultures and languages of the people who spent their holidays in Sicily. Looking back, that is really when my passion for travel and tourism began.
It started in 2002
Keen to learn more and see the world, I studied, worked and travelled in Asia and the UK before returning to Sicily in 2002. As the internet was taking off, I seized the opportunity to create the first website guide to Cefalu, featuring holiday homes for rental and ways to experience the region, from historic palazzo rentals and scooter hire to guided hikes up volcanoes. It worked well and my rental business began to thrive.
Villa holidays became increasingly popular so in 2006 I converted my spacious family home, Villa Provenza, into a holiday villa with a pool. Set high in the Madonie mountains overlooking the sea, it became an instant hit, attracting groups of friends and families who would return year after year.
As demand grew, my business evolved to sourcing and managing other villas in the area. I employed a team to coordinate everything from laundry, cleaning and maintenance, to bookings and promotions.
By the time started building Villa Rita, my dream family villa, I was married with two children. As we divide our time between Sicily, Brussels and the UK, Villa Rita has become our second and much-loved home in Sicily.
In 2011 I established my villa rental company in the UK which became known as the Massimo Villa Collection or simply Massimo Villas. We spread our wings, adding villas from other Italian regions including Puglia, Tuscany and Sardinia then further afield to Lake Como and Formentera, branching into villa sales and renovation projects too.
My focus is still about providing not just accommodation but arranging authentic local experiences to enable visitors to enjoy their holidays to the full. Private pizza evenings and special celebration meals with our favourite chefs at the villas are always popular as are cookery lessons and boat trips. For more luxurious villas, we have also created a concierge service to incorporate a high level of daily service.
My team and I now welcome guests personally at ‘Donna Luna’, my enoteca, a small wine bar in my local village of Sant Ambrogio, within walking distance of Villa Rita. Anyone staying in one of my villas in the area is encouraged to come and taste a range of delicious local wine with us and choose their favourites to enjoy back at the villa. It is a great way to enjoy a bit of ‘la dolce vita’ together!
Looking to the future
Massimo Villas continues to evolve and look to the future. As proud members of the Association of British Travel Organisers (www.abtoi.com) and I-PRAC approved ( https://www.i-prac.com/member/ip20-73360/), we are confident that we can give our guests a consistent level of quality and service. Our recent partnership with Marriott International also brings our villas to a wider audience and gives us a quality stamp of approval.
We are constantly adding new villas to our existing destinations and beyond, with luxurious new additions around Taormina in Sicily and others in Umbria coming soon. We look forward to welcoming you to one of our destinations soon.
Founder Massimo Villas
Meet our team
Massimo is the owner and founder of Massimo Villas. Travelling regularly to ensure the smooth running of operations, he lives and works between London, Brussels, Cefalú and Taormina. Massimo has run his own holiday rental business for over 20 years, dealing with reservations, promotions, house management and sales.LinkedIn
Based in Norway and the owner of a beautiful villa in Cefalu, Frode is on hand to give advice in Norwegian about how to rent or purchase a villa in Cefalu. Frode and his wife are responsible for organising fabulous activity breaks, from olive picking to walking in National Parks.Email
Home staging and interior decorating
Based in Sicily, Sergio works closely with the team at Massimo Villas in order to assist owners with upgrades and renovations. From building, remodelling, or updating furniture, Sergio's team designs and furnishes interiors tailored to individual tastes and lifestyle.
Puglia product manager
Annalisa has worked in the real estate sector for around 20 years. Experienced in managing building and renovation projects of holiday villas in particular, she is a valuable guide for the development of Massimo Villas in Puglia.LinkedIn
Annamaria Tomba deals with all concierge activities for Massimo Villas. Based in Taormina and of Swedish origin, Annamaria has over 30 years of experience in the travel industry and excellent knowledge of Sicily. Annamaria has been collaborating with Massimo Villas for around 2 years.LinkedIn
PR and Communications
Based in London, Rachel has worked at Massimo Villas since 2014, dealing with PR and Communications. Rachel has over 20 years of experience in the luxury villa holiday industry and is a true Italophile.LinkedIn
His greatest passion coincides with his work. His love for the land shines through in his photos. In his photographic site, Sicily appears in all aspects of its. Art, culture, archaeology, landscapes, events, wineries, food, women, volcanoes, islands and villas and historic homes that enhance the offer of Massimo Villas - https://www.sicilyphotodiscover.net/LinkedIn