Dear Traveller Friends,

Welcome back for another visit to the beautiful Sicily. 

After exploring Catania and the area around it, it’s time to visit the southern part of the island. If you are willing to keep an intense pace for your visit, you’ll manage to see everything there is to see. But, if you prefer to enjoy a slower pace, I suggest you plan a two-day visit.

Your first stop is Ortygia. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage, and it’s the ancient part of Syracuse

Ortigia – Photo Crdit:
Duomo Ortigia – Photo Credit:

Ortygia is the original nucleus from which this town originated, expanding over the mainland. Even if this island is of limited size, it has many things to offer. The elegant old city centre and the suggestive boardwalk are just an appetiser. The best is yet to come. The main attraction is the Cathedral, interesting thanks to the contrast between the interior in medieval Greek style and the baroque facade.

If you are interested in admiring the religious architecture, you have plenty to keep you occupied here. Besides the Cathedral, in fact, there are other twelve churches on the island. 

After going through Ortigia, stop to admire the building on the south point—the majestic Maniace Castle. Just like the Castle of Aci Castello, despite being presumably built by the Greeks, this building has a typical Arabic character due to its fundamental importance for the Byzantines. What makes this place unique is that, even if it always had a military function, it’s richly decorated with almost obsessive attention to details.

The last attraction is the Fountain of Arethusa, a magical freshwater source in the middle of an island surrounded by the sea.

Fonte Aretusa – Photo Credit: Berthold Werner

After visiting Syracus, you can go on with your tour heading south towards Noto, another UNESCO World Heritage. All the main attractions are quite near to each other so your visit can be both beautiful and quite fast. However be careful not to get lost while searching for a parking lot. The small alleys around town are a maze.

The heart of town is San Nicolò’s Cathedral. This ill-fated building was damaged by earthquakes, suffered collapses due to structural errors, and underwent stylistic changes. Now, after more than ten years of restorations, the Cathedral has regained its original, and it’s renowned as one of the most beautiful baroque religious building in the world.

Basilica San Nicolò, Noto – Photo Credit: Valentina Nicoletti

Around the Cathedral there are other important buildings—Ducezio Palace, the town hall built and furnished in French Seventeenth Century’s style, Santa Chiara’s Church, San Carlo’s Church and Nicolaci Palace, a baroque building with a suggestive and fancy facade. 

If you are going to take this tour during a hot summer day, probably you’ll need some rest at this point. The best place to relax is Avola’s seashore, characterised by golden sand and cobalt blue sea.

However, if you have plenty of energy left you can head to the west, towards Modica, another UNESCO World Heritage. Since you’ll have little time for your visit, focus on the main attractions—such as San Giorgio’s Cathedral, one of the best example of Sicilian Baroque.

Duomo di San Giorgio, Modica – Photo Credit:

If you still have time, go to the Earls’ Castle (Castello dei Conti), situated on top of a rocky promontory. It will grant you a spectacular view over the whole valley.

With Modica, we conclude this brief tour of southern Sicily. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope to see you soon for the next destination!