Dec
12

Siracusa

‘The greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all’ – Cicero.

Siracusa has been an important Greek city and the capital of the Byzantine Empire in its 2500 year history. For the visitor it is made up to two distinct areas, Ortigia the tear drop island which is the oldest part of the city, and now mainly baroque in character with Greek elements, and the archeological park which houses the famous Greek theatre, the Ear of Dionysis and the altar of Airone. The modern city is a sprawling late 20th century addition to the landscape, the most notable feature being the conical church of Santa Lucia.
Although on the sea Siracusa has no beach, but there are swimming platforms erected in the summer. The Siracusani go south to Arenella and Fontane Bianche for the beach. Nowadays a city of 180.000 people, Siracusa is a bustling city, but for those who stay in Ortigia, it seems a place apart; little traffic and wandering the lanes under a blinding sun.

Nov
03

Modica

The origins of Modica are lost in the mists of time – some say it was founded by Hercules. However there was a Greek presence, and under Roman rule it was an important grain provider for the capital. Unusually for Sicily it is a city built in a valley, scrambling up the sides of the gorge which flanks two rivers, and as such has earned the appellation of being a ‘split pomegranite’.

The County of Modica includes the seaside resorts of Marina di Modica and Maganuco, aswell as Modica itself, a UNESCO city, which dates back to the origins of Sicily itself – though the date is unknown.

Also famous for its chocolate, which is made to the original Spanish recipe and was brought here by the Spanish during their dominion, Modica is a wealthy, vibrant town of about 60.000 inhabitants. The Modicani are also one of the few people left in Sicily who live in the countyside and commute into town.

The town is about 10km from the sea, and being 250m above sea level has a climate that is rarely humid, but enjoys the best of the weather. It is full of baroque architecture having been rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake, and the cathedral of San Giorgio, atop an impressive flights of steps, is regarded as being the greatest example of late baroque Sicilian architecture.

Modica has made great strides in the field of tourism, and now has 4* hotels, both in the town and in the countryside, agriturismi and, seeing how much the Modicani like their food, lots of great places to eat.

Nov
02

Noto

  • Eloro
    Eloro
  • Noto Antica
    Noto Antica
  • Infiorata
    Infiorata
  • Noto
    Noto
Noto is a UNESCO town – ‘the garden of stone’ and is the pre-eminent example of the baroque rebuilding after the great earthquake of 1693.  The old town of Noto Antica was abandoned and the entire town rebuilt on a gentle slope closer to the sea.  An early example of town planning, the main street hosts the town hall, the Duomo and the important buildings, which run up hill giving a stage set feel to the town.   Elaborate baroque sculpture is a feature of the palazzi, as are the many styles of church architecture.   The seaside at Lido di Noto is popular with families, and is only 6km from town, especially the beach at Eloro.

The third weekend in May holds the infiorata festival where flower paintings are created and left on display.

 

Nov
02

Vendicari

The Vendicari Nature Reserve is a 13 km long stretch of coastline which is a protected area. Spanning the area from the Noto-Pachino road to the sea, it is un uncontaminated area which attracts millions of migrating birds. The beaches are wild, there are no services within the reserve and most beaches are a walk from the nearest parking place, but it’s worth the effort. The beaches of Calamosche, Eloro and the old tuna factory are popular in season and can be reached from Noto, the main entrance to the reserve or from San Lorenzo in the south.

noto_pachino

The area behind the Vendicari, being on sloping hills which afford a perfect sea view, is east facing affording spectacular views of the rising sun. It is this area which is the most desirable area for a house around Noto, especially the area around the Roman Villa Tellaro, which gives easy access to the sea as well as being only five minutes from the UNESCO baroque town of Noto itself.

The South East of Sicily is often called the Val di Noto, dating from the times when the Arabs divided the island into 3 valli.  Comprising the UNESCO listed baroque towns the Val di Noto offers something for everyone, and though Siracusa is probably the most famous of its towns the area has a host of towns, beaches and secrets that the visitor will appreciate.   The Val di Noto is the ‘Greek bit’ of Sicily – it was here that the Greeks first landed in 600 BC and where the colonies flourished.  The south east of the island retained its Greek roots even during the Arab conquest, and it was only with the Spanish overlords from the 13th century onwards that society changed inexorably.   Even so, the south east of Sicily retains a sense of ‘Greekness’.  it is seen as being the most cultured part of the island, and while lacking in infrastructure is becoming the most appreciated area of Sicily.  From the UNESCO city of Siracusa, with the beautiful teardrop island of Ortigia and the vast archaelogical park, you can travel south to Noto – the garden of stone – and prime example of a Baroque planned city.  The VEndicari nature reserve offers 13km of pristine beaches and lagoons for migrating birds and Mediterranean flora.  The south east tip of the island – Capo Passero is the southernmost tip of ‘mainland’ Italy and the meeting point of two seas.  The Baroque jewels of Scicli, Modica and Ragusa are best explored at leisure.  The southern coastline takes in the resorts of Pozzallo, Sampieri, Donnalucata and Marina di Ragusa and offer endless stretches of golden sandy beaches.   Inland the hill towns of Chiaramonte Gulfi and Monterosso Almo are more akin to Tuscan hill towns than to Sicilian villages.  Famous for its olive oil, fruit and vegetables and citrus fruits as well as almonds, the south east of the island offers local delicacies and rich fare for those who love to eat.

The stunning countryside changes within a few kilometres, from open coastal plains to verdant rolling hills to moors and dales crisscrossed with dry stone walls.  Lush and green from october to June this part of the island has no rain usually for 3 months in the summer and the fields become yellow and dry in the hot summer sun.

With the new airport at Comiso (Ragusa)  and with low cost carriers keen to use the airport as a destination, the potential for this part of Sicily is huge.  The last few years have seen an increase in quality hotels and residences, there is a continual upgrading of roads and services in the region and Ragusa is deemed the best part of Sicily to live in with the highest quality of life index of the island.

To keep up to date with changing algorithms, search engines and modern technology we have decided to create this new responsive site which is based on the original, muchloved, Modicasa site.   The search function is the same, choose whether you are looking at a town, the countryside, the sea etc, and then zone in on the area of interest.  You can be as specific or as general as you like.

Another feature of the new site, is that you can add properties to your own ‘favourites’ page to return to when you like.

Please bear with us while we optimise the new site – it’s a steep learning curve for us all!