The word baroque came to English from the Italian word “barocco”, meaning irregular pearl. And that’s the perfect description of southeastern Sicily.
Irregular because this tiny corner of Italy has its own rules and style, not yet changed by tourism. And it’s truly a pearl, shaped by its surrounding waters, beautiful and rare to behold.
Plan My [country] Holiday
Baroque pearls are irregular and not symmetrical, which also describes this long weekend experience we’ve planned for two clients in South Sicily.
Following a barocco trail through noble villas, wineries, monasteries and palazzos, this holiday explores an unexplored piece of Europe, that’s very close to home. Baroque pearls are also the hardest to fake and you’ll find that is true of southeastern Sicily as well.
Day 1 – Noto
Fly into Catania and travel south to Noto, the soul of Sicilian barocco. Slow into the Sicilian pace of life at Caffe Sicilia then lunch on fresh seafood in Marzamemi village. Visit an old tonnara then do some bottarga tasting – and if you don’t know what this means, remember, Sicily is for explorers looking for new experiences.
Of course you’ll sleep inside the baroque. Both Seven Rooms Villadorata and Q92 are located inside 18th-century barocco palazzos. Owned and operated by local Sicilian families, they are the best places to stay in this corner of Europe.
Day 2 – Ragusa
Ragusa, like one of those places from a fairytale, perched on a hill, lost in time. It’s a town that’s hard to believe until you visit. Food is essential to life in all of Sicily so take your pick for lunch. Cissio Sultano is fresh and youthful, next to the Duomo. Locanda Don Serafino has a more traditional approach, in a baroque cellar. Both have Michelin stars.
Stop at Donnafugata Castle and go wine tasting at Arianna Ochhipinti on your way back to a leisurely evening in Noto.
Day 3 – Scicli and Modica
Visit two hilltop towns completely rebuilt in the Sicilian barocco style. It really amazes us how this corner of Sicily is still so non-touristic. But we’re not complaining. And you won’t be complaining when tasting chocolate in Modica, or dining in Michelin-starred Accursio. It’s easy to spend hours getting lost in these barocco towns, simply wandering through history and culture.
Day 4 – Ortigia
Now travel to a barocco island. Ortigia is a more popular tourist destination but it’s still a lovely place to spend half a day, beneath the Mediterranean sun. Make your visit more personal with a cooking class in a local home. Or you could spend the afternoon in the private countryside estate of local olive oil producers. Either way, the food is sublime.
Day 5 – Catania
Back to Catania to fly out, so explore the ancient fish market and one of Catania’s palaces. We don’t mean you can do a tour of one of Catania’s palaces. A private lunch will be arranged in an historical palazzo. Think dining amid frescoed halls and glorious testaments to the Sicilian baroque era, in a palace not open to the public.
Exploring Southeastern Sicily
This is a long-weekend trip we arranged for clients, but of course we can design something unique to you. It could be two to three days as part of a family Sicilian beach holiday, a weekend in Noto and Ragusa, or a whole week that includes wineries, farms, beaches and more.