Located in the beautiful province of Catania, on the hills of Piedimonte Etneo, lies “Colle degli Agrumi – Citrus Hill” a magical destination, a special kind of ‘retreat’, one that feels more intimate and personal, capable of offering an immersive and inclusive Sicilian experience, with framed views of Etna and the Mediterranean Sea.

Name: Colle degli Agrumi – Citrus Hill
Location: Piedimonte Etneo, Sicily, Italy
Client: Private
Program: Retreat
Status: Planning/Tender
Size: Site 3.3 hectares, project: 2800 m2
MCA Principal: Matteo Cainer
MCA Team: Chiara Antonelli, Yeonsu Lee
Renderings: MCA/Liraat
Media: #MCA_Colledegliagrumi #MCA_Citrushill

Colle degli Agrumi - Citrus Hill by Matteo cainer Architecture - Sheet2

The project stems from a profound reflection on the Mediterranean Sea and the subsequent desire to recover and bring to life a piece of  ‘invisible’ Sicily. The result is a place where one can experience a new kind of journey, one that poetically intertwines history, culture, art, beauty and wellness all between the restored ruins and the beautiful landscape covered by organic olive trees, vineyards, and different types of groves of oranges, mandarins, tangerines, lemons, citrons and Sicilian limes. The resulting project is one that does not impose itself on the landscape, but rather grows and nestles into it. Designed with nature and for nature, it harnesses the beauty of the landscape by locating and curating a new transformative program anchored on Sicily itself.

Colle degli Agrumi - Citrus Hill by Matteo cainer Architecture - Sheet3

The aspiration is not only to offer a new immersive experience, but also to trigger a sense of identity and belonging through a fresh reading of the Mediterranean culture and its legacy. With this end, the two cardinal ideas used in designing ‘Colle degli Agrumi’ were firstly to give centre stage to the citrus groves by creating a project that grows and nestles into the landscape, thus re-establishing the biophilic connection between man and nature, and secondly to restore the strong connection with the culture and historical heritage of Sicily itself. Thus, through an innovative program provide multiple experiences, from the most peaceful ones such as meditation, to the more convivial ones like concerts, cinema, literature and storytelling.


Citrus Hill, through a design language that references the Sicilian farmhouses: ‘Masserie’ and ‘Bagli fortificati’ with their introspective layout, conceals a natural, tranquil, and creative destination. A getaway for slow tourism capable of offering a unique and inclusive experience, with the power to connect us to our Mediterranean roots while breathing the legacy and heritage of Sicily. A place where to get lost among the scent of orange blossoms while discovering the typical sounds and flavours, and enjoying the splendid views of Mount Etna and the Mediterranean Sea.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.