Three Baroque towns

Our drive out of Ortigia and along the eastern coast had the turquoise water of the Ionian Sea on one side and the Iblei mountains on the other, a great way to start the day. We arrived in the first of three Baroque towns, Noto. We entered the town through the Porta Reale.Noto was built after the earthquake of 1693. The city has three main roads which are oriented east to west for all-day sun. Each road was designed for a particular social class; upper road for the nobility, middle for the clergy and lower for the people. There is a pretty steep incline to get up to the nobility level where there are still many beautiful palace-like homes. Most of the buildings, gates and statues are yellow limestone. This stone was abundant and easy to carve. It also looks great in the sun. Sicilian Baroque has a little extra flair and some incredible balconies with faces to scare away evil spirits as their supports.The Duomo, one of 40 churches on the main street, was recently renovated with UNESCO funds. In front of the cathedral were three mini-murals made of flowers and small colored stones.The inside of the cathedral had a beautifully painted ceiling and magnificent brass doors.We then continued past some houses built directly into the natural caves of the mountains. That town, named Ispica, was a stronghold for the Sicilians during WWII. It gave them a huge advantage to ambush their enemies. Above the cliffs the Baroque church of the town had a Tiffany blue bell tower.Our next charming Baroque town was Ragusa Ibla. It is situated atop the hill offering a wonderful view of the valley. There is a nice city garden at the base of the old town.We finished our Baroque tour in the village of Modica, which is also known for chocolate.After viewing more ornate Baroque buildings we were ready for lunch and chocolate. We were guided to a favorite local restaurant where we split a massive antipasto followed by a delicious pasta made with fava beans and wild fennel. It was all served with a homemade red wine. Heaven!As full as we were, there is always room to taste chocolate. Modica chocolate is very dark and needs to melt on your tongue to get the full flavor. We tried a few different flavors and liked them all.Our final destination was Bronte. Just beneath Mt. Etna, the volcanic soil is perfect for growing a special pistachio. Due to the annual Pistachio Festival, there was an incredible amount of traffic. We arrived too late to see the crowning of the pistachio queen, watch the parade and see some demonstrations, however, we were able to walk the busy streets and sample many delicious pistachio treats including crepes and gelato. It was and incredibly filling day.

4 thoughts on “Three Baroque towns

  1. This post contains too much to post an appropriate comment.
    The yellow limestone, the beauty of the buildings, the colored stones, the chocolate and the pistachios (especially the giant pistachio)…
    I had no idea that the places you have gone even existed!
    Thank you for sharing all of this.

    Liked by 1 person

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