Sicilia Orientale

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sicilia-orientale

CATANIA, SIRACUSA, NOTO, RAGUSA, MODICA and TAORMINA

1st day: Catania
Departure for Catania. Bus or car driver will meet you.
Arrival in Catania.
Light lunch at farmhouse in the Chiana di Catania followed by a walking tour of the historic centre immersed in a wide and pleasant plain planted with lemon trees.
In an elegant and lively Baroque style, the city was rebuilt after the 1669 eruption and subsequent earthquake of 1693, almost entirely out of lava rock. Its black color characterizes all buildings and highlights the link between the city and the great volcano Mt. Etna.
Transfer and hotel accomodation in Siracusa. Dinner and overnight stay.

 

2nd day: Siracusa - Noto
After breakfast, departure for Siracusa, defined by Cicero as “the largest and most beautiful among the Greek cities”, rich in testimonies of its ancient greatness of cultural capital, from the splendor of Greek age until the Baroque period.
You can admire the second-best preserved ancient Greek Theater in the world, the largest altar for sacrifices of the ancient Greek world and the Roman Amphitheater. Continue on to the Siracusan catacombs (the largest in Italy outside of Rome) and Byzantine ruins that document the role of capital city in the period; explore Renaissance palaces, buildings and churches in Baroque style, neo-classical works and the entire neighborhoods in Art Nouveau style.
Lunch at restaurant.
We depart Siracusa and visit Noto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that offers an architectural panorama unique in the world for the perfect unity and harmony of its Baroque style emphasized by the honey-colored stone used to build the city.
Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

 

3rd day: Modica - Ragusa
After breakfast, departure for Modica.
Although  located along the sides of a gorge, the historic center offers the stunning spectacle of an exuberant Baroque scenography. The Church of St. George, with its imposing façade punctuated by five gates and a series of columns rising up to the sum of the bell tower, sits atop a scenic starcase of 164 steps. The interior decorations emphasise its artistic value: white and gilded stuccoes filling transepts and nave, a silver carved altar that tells the stories of St. George.
In Modica, gourmands have to stop to the Ancient Dolceria Bonajuto, where chocolate is still made in the traditional Aztec way (brought to Sicily by the Spanish): the cocoa beans are crushed cold with cinnamon, vanilla and crystals of sugar perfectly identifiable until obtain a homogeneous mixture.
Lunch at a typical tavern near  Castello di Donnafugata successfully for the novel "The Leopard" written by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
The daily tour follows to Ragusa.
The old area is Ibla, characterised by narrow streets and steep stairways. The special charm of Ibla has to be found in its small details: the houses supported each other, sloping roofs with colored tiles that show sometimes a bell tower, a pinnacle, the massive structure of the dome of St. George, the elegance of churches and palaces in Baroque and Rococò style, the stone monsters overseeing prospects and doorways.
Its main square is become famous to be the Commissariat (filming) site of the Italian tv show "Inspector Montalbano".
Overcoming a distance of about 250 steps you reach the Upper Ragusa, rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693, with its long streets that show suddenly stunning Late-Baroque scenarios.
Our stroll leads us to Piazza San Giovanni. You spend time to visit the Cathedral imposing its richly decorated façade with carvings, sculptures, columns over-sized and two sundials: one of them measures the time in Italian hours (from sunset to sunset), the other in French hours (midnight to midnight).
Unexpected is the coup de théâtre offered from the churchyard, raised up above the square and enclosed by a pitch stone balustrade. You will be agreeably surprised and fascinated by its interior more and more: carved and gilded capitals, stucco angels, gilded effects in Rococò style decoring the vaults, large niches furnished and surrounded by wonderful statues.

 

4rd day: Taormina
After breakfast, departure for Taormina, "the Pearl of the Mediterranean Sea". Visit to the Greco-Roman Theater that offers an unforgettable view of the coast and the Etna in all of Sicily; walk in the main street to discover suggestive corners and the small shops of handicrafts.
Lunch at a typical trattoria on the beach in Letojanni.
Transfer to the airport of Catania.
Travel program for groups and individual customers.
Possibility of hotel 3-4-5 stars.
Airports recommended for arrival: Catania, Palermo, Naples and Rome.

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