Sicily: Noto, Modica, Ragusa

We had every intention of visiting the Queen of Baroque: Syracuse and its famous palazzzi; however, traffic in the town was horrendous and finding a car park impossible. So we drove on to Noto where I had booked a small apartment in the centre of town. Like the other apartments we had rented in Sicily, the manager rode up on his motor bike to meet us, parked our car for us in a very cramped space, showed us around the apartment and the area, pointing out the best places for coffee and a meal. It is an incredibly hospitable way to introduce newcomers to town. The apartments come with everything, even down to olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Noto has a beautiful baroque centre. The intricate detail can be seen in the buildings, balconies and doors. The main street Vittorio Emanuele (yes, another one!) is beautiful with stunning baroque churches, an opera house and palazzi built in the early 18th century. We walked it at night when it was lit up and the scorching day time temperatures had eased.

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Sicily in June is hot and the daylight hours are long. Luckily Lido di Noto is not too far away. We were here at 7pm and watched families arriving with their children for a swim. I took this photo as we sipped a wine at the beach bar.

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Noto was our base to explore two other baroque towns: Modica and Ragusa. Modica, not too far from Noto is quite medieval and has a spectacular baroque cathedral. We were lucky to witness a wedding when we climbed to its lofty height. It was a colourful affair and the wedding car… sensational.

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The town of Ragusa is split in two; the new town was built at the top of the hill after an earthquake destroyed parts of the old town in 1693. We spent considerable time walking the narrow cobbled streets of the old town which led into a pleasant palazzi where we ate ice cold limone granite and brioche.

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