Our Sicily villa page offers some practical advice on finding and renting a villa in Sicily, but I'd like to make a (very candid) point or two beyond those pragmatic remarks:
Even if it's not something you usually do. Especially if you're not accustomed to making a counter-offer when purchasing something. This year villa rental agencies, including those outside Italy, are desperate. And they're offering unheard of reductions and discounts. Take advantage of this.
Get the price you (as the customer) deserve!
Some villa rental agencies we know of inflate weekly rates wildly - paying the property owners less than 50% of the retail rate you are paying. Remember that you are the client. In other words, you are the one who pays. Without you, the agency cannot survive. So take control of your holiday, and your budget. In other words, don't be held hostage. Don't be timid about making a counter offer. Italians do it all the time, especially when purchasing products and services costing more than a thousand euros - and most weekly villa rentals run to at least that much.
Why does our opinion count?
What really counts most is your experience in Sicily. Why do we have such a strong, "opinionated" feeling about this subject? For one, Best of Sicily (which does market some co-branded travel services and advertise others such as hotel reservations) is a frank, independent publication which - in our own small way - advocates consumer rights. The villa rental field is, unfortunately, largely uncontrolled and virtually unregulated, so rates are often incredibly subjective (read inflated). We certainly do not oppose the right of anybody, including marketing professionals, to make an honest living, but we do want to see clients and customers treated fairly.
A few agencies we like (no, they don't all advertise on Best of Sicily):
Sicily 4 U
Come to Sicily. And enjoy your stay.