A 19th-century house, hidden in an old side street of Sicily’s port town of Catania offers female travelers a unique stay.
This spacious apartment, which has three bedrooms, is located in a rustic exterior. It offers guests a fully-stocked kitchen and a shared terrace.
Anyone who knows Michelle Titus (the New Yorker behind this project) will be astonished at the result.
Michelle, who has lived in 18 countries before she settled in Sicilia, says that she wanted a place where women could feel at home.
Women who stay put for a long time form lasting bonds.
“Cummari” in Sicilian means “female friendship that is closer to family”. Your mother or sister in law, if you were married, would be your Cummari. Cummari, for us, is also that. About:blank
Michelle has spent 15 years traveling the world, living and working in many countries, including Australia, Brazil, England, and Singapore.
She was far from feeling at home. Instead, she found a lack in accommodation options that met the needs of modern female travelers.
IKEA basics, everything white.
“It was always corporate apartments and short-term rentals that were really, really cold with basic white IKEA everything and no soul.”
The former nomad felt disappointed and decided to create a safe space for solo travelers, focusing only on the needs of female – but not excluding men.
Michelle says that while we value women as guests, it doesn’t mean that we exclude men from Cummari.
“We love having them visit, but it is a place for women created in the world just to be there.”
A feminine city
Catania could be the ideal place for an all-female living space.
This ancient port city is located on Sicily’s east coastline and is home to Mount ETNA, Europe’s most active volcano. It’s also a symbol for femininity across Italy’s largest Mediterranean Island.
Michelle says that it is a feminine city and that the volcano is feminine. Etna was named after a fairy. The Greeks were also worshipping goddesses from Egypt when they arrived.
This makes Catania an ideal location for female travellers. Michelle says it is the reason she fell for Sicily.
This city is full of secrets that our guests love to discover.
For female travelers who are interested in history and culture, there are plenty of places to see on the island.
This house is located in the historic center of what was once an ancient city. Michelle continues, “We’re right on the edge the sea, very near where all the people in Catania go on weekends, shop or dine out,”
Cummari is home to many museums and palaces. You never know what you might find once you step out of the city’s doors. This is why we have so many secrets that our guests find in this city.”
Prioritizing women without excluding men
Michelle began her dream of creating a co-living space for women in 2019 when she purchased the abandoned house to be known as Cummari.
She collaborated with local artisans to create bespoke furniture and murals. Her holistic approach to renovating the building focused on creating the luxury charm of a boutique hotel.
The house was originally owned by two sisters, who had lived there for quite a while. They loved the house and are now continuing to build that sisterhood and community.
Cummari evokes tranquility and is what Michelle was looking for as a solo traveller. It’s a home away form home that feels secure, intimate, and personal.
Michelle says that Michelle is aware of the history of violence against women who identify themselves as women and wants women to have the option to travel with others who identify as females while they work or travel.
It’s a safe, relaxing place to call home and also a great social space. Our guests are mostly single so they still go out and mix and mingle and get to know Sicily and Catania. They like the fact that they can return home in peace and not have to lock their doors or go out in their pajamas to get coffee.
It seems that women just seem to grasp it.
Since the building opened in 2021, Cummari’s guests have loved this sense of security. The coliving space has attracted many residents, from elderly corporate clients to young remote workers.
Michelle says that women have visited us from all parts of the globe, including New Zealand, Scandinavia, America, and Southeast Asia.
“We are not listed on booking.com or Airbnb, and our location hasn’t been made public. Word of mouth is spreading the news about Cummari.
“Women seem to grasp it. It’s impossible to get it if you don’t understand it. However, it’s not impossible for so many people to get it and book it.