Sicily inside out: Part 6: Noto, Modica

After Syracuse, our final destination was supposed to be Agrigento on the south coast. Still, perhaps not wanting to finish our vacation yet, we were eager to see some more beauty spots on the way. Modica and Ragusa were on the way, but it wasn’t clear (according to our guide) which one was more worth seeing. The puzzle was ‘solved’ by our host in Sicily who recommended seeing a 3rd city, Noto by all means! OK – what could we do, we decided to visit all three of them on the rough and narrow road to Agrigento!

First stop: Noto
Our host was absolutely right. Noto is a must-see. It’s like an open-air museum of Baroque style buildings, and is actually a Unesco World Heritage site. Noto is a small city, and has one main street, but on both sides of it there are truly impressive buildings.

It’s really striking at first that the style of all buildings is absolutely coherent. Later on we understood this was the result of a major earthquake that struck Sicily in 1693. The old city was completely destroyed, and it was decided to completely rebuild it  several miles away (where the current Noto is).

As everywhere in Sicily, there was the Duomo (the Cathedral) at the very center of everything.

Il Duomo in Noto

Palms and baroque - beauty!

Palms and baroque – beauty!

Even the smaller streets in Noto have Baroque-styled buildings

A major attraction was Il Palazzo Ducezio, which is now the seat of the Town Council. There was a really impressive Hall of Mirrors, which is a very wanted place for Sicilian weddings.

Hall of Mirrors

We strolled around for about 2 hours, visiting all possible museums during that time. There’s really not much to be done in Noto, but seeing it is a must indeed!

Next on we headed to Modica and Ragusa. Modica is the Sicilian city of the chocolate – practically on every corner you can see a cioccolateria. There’s free tasting of any type of chocolate, and given that there were 20+ different types in each shop (sometimes truly different!), after the 3rd cioccolateria I was already sick of chocolate 🙂

Modica is also a baroque city, with San Pietro and San Giorgio churches at its center.

San Giorgio church in Modica

Very impressive here was the disposition of the city – it’s laid on two karst gorges, meeting at the central square. There are many many stairs, everywhere 🙂


After getting chocolate-sick, we drove 15 km to Ragusa to check it out, and have a quick coffee before hitting the road again. We didn’t have much time to see the city well, but enjoyed a pleasant discussion with a (charming) barrista who gasped with amazement when he learnt our crazy schedule for the past days 🙂

But, we were happy! And started our evening drive to our last stop – Agrigento! More on Agrigento in my last post in this Sicily series!
Credit all photos: my friend Neli Korsakova

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