Sicily, journey by car between Catania, Siracusa and Ragusa

The round trip Catania-Ragusa-Catania winds for 280 kilometres between sea, archaeological sites and the towns of eastern Sicily, the cradle of Sicilian Baroque. Taking into account the necessary stops to visit the most important places of interest, the trip can be done in 5 days.

Catania Airport – Siracusa – Noto – Calamosche – Ragusa – Palazzolo Acreide – Catania Airport

Day 1: Catania – Siracusa

Siracusa Sicily

Siracusa Sicily, Piazza del Duomo

At Catania Fontanarossa airport (served by various airlines including Easyjet), we hire a car and in an hour we reach Siracusa, little more than 60 kilometres away. We dedicate the whole day to Syracuse. We park the car in the centre and walk around the island of Ortigia, the city’s historic centre, fascinating and atmospheric, with its buildings, churches and monuments from the Medieval and Baroque periods. There’s a lot to see, starting with the Piazza del Duomo. There are many restaurants and typical trattoria in Ortigia. For lunch we choose fresh fish from the Ristorante Medusa (v. S.Teresa, 6), for dinner we go to the Osteria da Mariano (Vicolo Zuccolà, 9) with its traditional dishes from Monti Iblei. After dinner, we take a walk along the seafront. There are reasonably priced bed and breakfasts and hotels in Ortiga. We sleep at the Giudecca.

Day 2: Siracusa – Noto

On our second day we spend the morning visiting the Parco Archeologico of Siracusa, with its Greek Theatre and Roman Amphitheatre. Then, after a light lunch we set off towards Noto, reachable in little more than 45 minutes. We spend the entire afternoon in Noto and its historic centre, it being one of the most representative examples of the Siclian Baroque. In Piazza Municipio, we sit on the steps of the imposing Duomo di San Nicolò to eat an ice cream. We walk until evening, slowly discovering the Baroque treasures Noto has to offer. For dinner we head for the Trattoria del Carmine, that offers a number of specialities including ravioli di ricotta (ravioli filled with ricotta cheese) and coniglio alla stimpirata (a traditional Sicilian dish made with rabbit). We sleep at the hotel Giardino del Barocco.

Day 3: Noto – beach of Calamosche – Ragusa

It’s the third day of our trip through south-eastern Sicily and we spend it at the sea. We buy bread caciocavallo cheese and salami, stock up on water, and in less than 20 minutes we’re at the beach of Calamosche, in the Nature Riserve of Vendicari. In order to get to the beach, which is amongst the most beautiful and best kept in Sicily, we park the car and walk along a footpath for 15 minutes. Several hours are dedicated to sea, sand and relaxation. In the late afternoon we set off on our journey again, and travel the 55 kilometres to reach Ragusa in little more than an hour.

Ragusa is split into two parts, the upper town which is the new town and Ragusa Ibla, the Medieval and Baroque town that’s situated on a hill lower down and linked to the new town by a large flight of steps. We check in to the Hotel Il Barocco in Ibla and for dinner we go to Cucina e Vino in via dell’Orfonatrofio 91, a family-run Slow Food restaurant.

Day 4 – Ragusa and Modica

Ragusa is far too beautiful a city for merely one evening. So on the fourth day we stay in Ragusa Ibla, and its narrow streets and squares. There’s also time for a trip to Modica, a few kilometres away. Here too we see masterpieces of the Sicilian Baroque, and chocolate is the local speciality.

Day 5: Ragusa – Palazzolo Acreide – Catania

The last part of our journey is a slow return to Catania along byroads. 110 kilometres in little over two
hours with a stop at Palazzolo Acreide, to eat once more in a trattoria and to visit the archaeological
site of Akrai. Our final evening is dedicated to Catania and the pleasures it has to offer. This is the city of Franco Battiato and Carmen Consoli, and there are public meeting places in abundance, including those dedicated to live music and contemporary art, such as Zo, the Mercati Generali and the Agorà Hostel.