Ragusa and ModicaSicily Private Excursion (1 day tour)
The city of Ragusa, capital of the Province, located on the southern part of the Hyblean Mountains
Defined as “the island within an island”, with its affluent socio-economic, boasts a rich artistic heritage, mostly dating from the rebuilding after the earthquake of 1693.
It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage as a valuable record of Baroque art.
Surrounded by a chain of green hills and crossed the river Irminio, the city is divided between the upper and the lower part modern, called Ragusa Ibla, built from the ruins of ancient cities and rebuilt after the earthquake, according to the old structure Ages.
The Ibla, the old historical center, offers over fifty churches and noble palaces.
Located on a hill, the small village overlooking the surrounding valley, with its small houses and narrow lanes over which reigns the majestic Cathedral of San Giorgio, the maximum expression of the Hyblean baroque.
The rich architecture in local limestone takes the form of scrolls, and full of voids, columns and capitals, statues and decorations of various kinds.
Modica, like the other towns in the Val di Noto, was badly damaged in the 1693 earthquake and largely rebuilt in Sicilian Baroque style.
It is divided into two parts, “higher” Modica and “lower” Modica, which are connected by numerous flights of steps.
Palazzi and houses rise from the bottom of the gorge seemingly stacked one on top of the other.
Magnificent churches, with their inspiring domes, bell towers and intricate facades, punctuate the red-tiled roofs and one is struck by the uniform beauty of the whole.
The centrepiece is undoubtedly the beautiful Church of San Giorgio, though the “Castello dei Conti”, surveying the town from atop a rocky outcrop, is also very impressive.
Modica is custodian of a 400 year tradition of Sicilian chocolate-making.
Being part of the Spanish kingdom for so many years meant that Sicily was often one of the first recipients of the new foodstuffs being brought back from South America.
Cacao was one of these and today Modica still specialises in making granulous chocolate, often flavoured with chilli pepper, cinnamon or vanilla, that is based on Aztec methods and recipes.
Chocolate shops abound and, for the real chocoholic, it is sometimes possible to watch the “chocolatiers” at work.
Just out of town, the beaches at Marina di Modica and Sampieri are absolutely splendid.
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