In the province of Ragusa, there are three cities that are part of the Val di Noto, recognized as a World Heritage Site, where you can admire the Baroque style.
The first Baroque gem to visit near the Scarabeo campsite is Ragusa Ibla, the ancient city that stands on a hill. It is characterized by narrow streets and hidden corners to discover, numerous staircases, and Baroque architecture.
The Cathedral of San Giorgio was built after the earthquake of 1693 and stands on top of a staircase that ends in the main square. Inside, you can admire the statue of Saint George on horseback. During the feast of the patron saint, occurring on the last Sunday of May, said statue is taken out to guide the procession.
Descending from the cathedral, you will find the Circolo di Conversazione (the Circle of Conversation), also known as Caffè dei Cavalieri, a neoclassical palace where intellectuals used to spend their free time.
The Giardini Iblei are a must-see, where you can walk among Mediterranean flora and trails, sit in the shade, and enjoy the breathtaking view from the balcony.
After the Iblei Gardens, along the descent, you will come across the majestic Portale di San Giorgio in Gothic-Catalan style, the symbol of the city, which before the earthquake served as the entrance to the church dedicated to the patron saint.
The savory delicacy to taste in the alleys of Ragusa Ibla is the ‘scaccia Ragusana‘.
The second baroque gem is the city of Modica, the city of a hundred churches, whose historic center is located on top of the Monti Iblei on which it stands.
Among the buildings, rich palaces, and simpler houses stand out, where you will see fresh laundry drying in the sun. It is a city characterized by many staircases, so it is necessary to bring water and take breaks. During your walks, remember to turn your gaze to the baroque shelves supporting the ancient balconies. For those who prefer a short but suggestive visit, it is recommended to take the baroque train, which reaches the main streets and buildings of the upper city and stops briefly at panoramic points.
The distinctive element of the city is the Cathedral of San Giorgio, which stands out above the surrounding buildings with its 250 steps. Among the other religious buildings, you must visit the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista, whose cross reaches the highest point of the entire city, the Church of Santa Maria del Gesù, in late Gothic style, the Church of San Pietro, along Corso Umberto I, and the Church of Santa Maria del Soccorso.
To enjoy the city’s panorama, it is recommended to reach the Belvedere del Pizzo and the Belvedere San Benedetto for a breathtaking view of the cathedral and the surrounding city.
One should not leave Modica without tasting and buying as a souvenir the grainy IGP Modican chocolate, produced at a lower temperature to prevent sugar from melting. It is recommended to try more particular flavors such as chili pepper, orange, and coffee, as well as excellent classic flavors such as cocoa and cinnamon.”
The last Baroque gem in the province of Ragusa is Scicli, also known as the crib city for its location on the mountains.
Very elegant, Scicli offers numerous glimpses of ‘Vigata‘, the fictional city of ‘Commissario Montalbano’.
The first church that catches the curiosity of tourists when they arrive in Scicli is the Church of San Bartolomeo, at the foot of two hills, designed by the architect Salvatore Alì. It remained partly intact after the earthquake that struck the Val di Noto. Inside you can admire the paintings depicting the Martyrdom of San Bartolomeo, the Deposition, and the Immaculate among Saints.
It is recommended to stroll along the beautiful Via Francesco Mormina Penna, where you can admire churches and buildings in full late Baroque style.
In this street, fans of the TV series will recognize the Town Hall building as the Vigata police station where Salvo and Catarella work. Immediately after is the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Baroque style, which houses the Crucifix of Burgos. Continuing down the street, you will admire the Antica Farmacia Cartia, which still preserves the ancient furniture and medicines of the time, Palazzo Bonelli-Patanè, Palazzo Spadaro, and the Church of Santa Teresa. The street also has numerous inns and boutiques for local shopping.
Another palace worth admiring is the sophisticated and radiant Palazzo Beneventano, a building of maximum Baroque expression in Sicily. Baroque shelves depicting fantastic animals and masks support the balconies, offering the building a bizarre air and spectacular light effects.
What delicacies or ‘licchità’ must you try in Scicli? The turkish heads filled with cream or ricotta, a typical sweet of the city.