Our mission is to help animal rights, welfare and education flourish through true human values and connection with culture.

Why a refuge?


Sicilian culture is a beautiful one comprised of many sources and influences. It is however, behind the times in some areas and animal welfare is one of them. Many people come visit Sicily for the beauty, the sea, or the food, but few know about the large stray animal problem here. According to Commission data, in Sicily in 2016 there were 75 thousand specimens of stray dogs. In 2018, there were 90,000.  Three quarters of European stray dogs are concentrated in Sicily. In Palermo alone, every day there are 2 litters and 10 finds. Critical situations also exist in the other provinces and regions across the southern portion of Italy.

In the countryside and peripheral areas around the major Sicilian cities it is not uncommon to find abandoned dogs and cats near the dumpsters or among the garbage piles along the provincial roads. All these abandoned animals not only find themselves facing living conditions to which they are not prepared, but since they are usually not sterilized, they reproduce, causing an exponential growth of the canine and feline rambling population.
The large populations of unwanted and uncontrolled street animals is due to lack of education and lack of funds of owners. The lack of sterilization causes huge amounts of overpopulation and often the owners don’t know or can’t afford to do the right thing. Unfortunately, there are also many examples of animal cruelty in existence here in getting rid of unwanted animals.
In bringing education to the locals and providing free vaccinations and sterilizations to low income owners, we are hoping to replicate the progress of the Netherlands in their stray situation, impacting the issues at the source. This association exists so we can make an impact in this problem and potentially bring an end to these issues helping not just the animals, but also the people, in bringing a 21st century approach.
Rifugio Isola Del Sole is a cultural and sports association based on making a better planet through the spreading of animal welfare, recovering true human values and the arts and crafts of the past. We offer educational courses aimed at teaching children values such as cooperation and compassion through the close contact with animals as well as offerings for adults including courses in authentic crafts and techniques of the region. We also offer guided activities, such as visits to our educational farm, tours on horseback and visits to our petting zoo. Perhaps most importantly, a portion of the proceeds will go towards free local vaccinations and sterilizations!
Courses offered will include:
-working with a sewing machine
-how to weave on the loom
-pottery making
-glass blowing
-learn to make pasta
-learn how to make cheese and butter
-wood carving
-jewelry making
-how to create your own soaps and perfumes.


Who we are

Looking ahead

Sicilian Culture: Building for the future

Our ultimate goal is to promote and help develop cultural elements: Sicilian agriculture, agritourism, education, protection and care of farm animals, development of recreational activities and the production of renewable energy. Currently we are setting up the existing residential building for activities for the supply of typical Sicilian products and the rooms for overnight guest stays. 

Looking forward, the facility will be brought into the modern era with the construction of 12 wooden bungalows with an eco-sustainable structure and photovoltaic roofing system. Future building and renovations will be done with a sustainable future in mind.

Typical regional Sicilian cuisine will be served in a restaurant area with the inclusion of D.O.C. ,  D.O.P. , and organic products of the area including some grown on the grounds, including: the Pachino tomato, the Avola almond, Modica chocolate, Marsala wine, etc.. Cultural educational services will be offered in the form of tastings and courses held by accredited chefs featuring the aforementioned ingredients.

The area and rifugio is one of great naturalistic interest and beauty where bikers, hikers, families or anyone of any age can discover Sicilian natural heritage taken to the next level and have a comfortable, educational, and relaxing stay.


The Team

Tecla Simi


Alessandro Romano


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To all our supporters: Apologies for no updates. We have been dealing with ongoing legal issues of fraud, embezzlement, etc. and it has completely derailed our progress 🙁

We thank, love and appreciate you all and hope our journey can continue.

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