Sicily needs no introduction. Among good food, culture, archeology, sea and beautiful cities it would take at least a month to make a complete tour of the island.
According to the tradition of our culinary weekend among Italy best areas we will try to recommend a sightseeing tour of a few days, limited to South Eastern Sicily. In this area of Sicily there are so many things to see and restaurant to try!
We always arrived at Catania airport and we rent the car (otherwise do you think that you can move in Sicily by bus or train?! Don’t make me laugh. First advice is rent a bloody car!). Catania is a beautiful city and it’s worth stopping for a visit.
For a fast lunch you should not miss the Savia’s arancini, right in the heart of Catania it is certainly the most popular place for arancini in town (click here for the address and review).
If you plan to stay for dinner we recommend you try Le tre bocche, great local where fish is king (click here). To sleep, after some disappointments, we found a nice hotel just outside Catania, right on the sea. This is hotel Baiaverde in Aci Castello (http://www.baiaverde.it/IT/).
The second must is Syracuse. Ortigia is a place not to miss in Sicily. This island in Siracusa once housed a prison and the facades of its buildings almost falling apart. Through a policy of regional incentives in recent years has been fully restored and is now one of the most exclusive and popular of Sicily. Among the biggest attractions there are the source of Arethusa, the Church of Saint Lucia with its Caravaggio and the impressive cathedral built by reusing the Greek columns of the Temple of Athena.
Then there is the magnificent greek theater where in May and June is held the season of classical greek performances. And I assure you that is really exciting at sunset when the actors begin to act in the most beautiful setting. In Ortigia there are many hotels and B&B, we ì had a good experience, due to its central location, in the hotel Roma (http://www.hotelromasiracusa.it).
For dinner is not easy because there are many good choices and it depeands on what you are looking for: restaurant Ai Mazzari (for the review click here), an intimate and elegant restaurant run by a family of Mazzara del Vallo is a nice fancy choice. One inconvenint, if the budget of your tour is low I would steer you towards other shores. For example, if you are looking for authentic trattoria, the place for you is the Osteria la Gazza Ladra (the review click here), a very intimate restaurant surely a bit spartan reported by Slow Food. Or if you are looking for a middle ground you can go to Taverna Sveva (click here for the review) with outdoor seating in a lovely little square Siracusana.
At this point you should spend some time to the sea. You must visit the fishermen village of Marzameni to get a granita in its pretty square, then should visit the most beautiful sea in the area, the nature reserve of Vendicari.
The sea is very nice and has several entrances, the only drawback is the amount of people who crowd the beaches in August. In the area you will find the beautiful villa of Tellaro which retains a nice pieces of Roman mosaics that surely worth a visit.
If you look for a less crowded place, we strongly recommend Avola small lakes: they have a wonderful color of the water, and are rich of large natural pools of unsalted water. It does a little hard to reach them, a dozen kilometers from Avola zigzag road by car and 30 minutes of fairly challenging walk.
But you’ll be rewarded with fresh water, a truly magical place to almost exclusive enjoyment of the local people. To reach the place, take a reference on the navigator to Cava Grande and bring with you a tracking shoes or at least a comfortable pair , don’t go down with sandals. If you want to eat in the area we recommend the nice seaside trattoria in Avola, the name says it all… Taverna del Pescatore (Fisherman tavern, for the review click here).
From here we continue to the nearby Noto, where a walk to the course to admire the Sicilian Baroque is a must. Raise your eyes to admire the balconies with their wonderful stucco! Maybe you will understand how rich this Island was during the Borboni time.
You can then continue to Modica and taste its chocolate, famous throughout the world.
Finally you can not miss Ragusa, true manifesto of the Sicilian Baroque.
For years the city was uninhabited. Then, as in the case of Syracuse, it was attended by regional incentives for reconstruction and is now one of the tourist heart of the island. In the main square you will find the excellent ice cream Gelati DiVini, with very particular tastes such as carob. Here you’ll find also what is considered the best restaurant in Sicily, Il Duomo, two Michelin stars. Architect of its success the genius of the kitchen Ciccio Sultano. Consider that for eating in this restaurant come from all over the world. Cost of the full dinner including wine tasting, 140 euro. Exaggerated? Maybe, but I assure you it is worth the ticket price!
To sleep we had a good experience in the hotel Il Barocco (do not expect nothing too fancy tough) whose restaurant could be a good alternative if you want to spend a human amount of euro. Otherwise is very nice the B&B L’orto sul tetto.
Viva la Sicilia!