Wednesday, November 16, 2011


(includes Caltagirone, Ibla-Ragusa, Marina di Modici, Modica & Scicli)

Dolceria Bonajuto – 159 Corso Umberto I (Modica); 011-39-093-294-1225;; perhaps Italy’s finest cioccolateria; produces cold-pressed chocolate, process derived from Aztec practices in 16th Century; make sure to try cannoli (legendary) and mpanatigghi (chocolate-meat-filled pies).
Pasticceria di Pasquale – 104 Corso Vittorio Veneto (Modica); 011-39-093-262-4635;; near Duomo; best pastry in town; tearoom with pleasant service and plethora of cakes (torta alla crema di mandorle, torta al pistachio di Bronte, torta al limone, cassata siciliana, and crostata di foglie di ragusano); must try spinach and ragusano arancino.

Caelum Hyblae B&B – 11 Salita Specula (Ibla-Ragusa); 011-39-093-222-0065;; means “Ibla Sky”; bit of climb to get to; cozy alternative venue with piano in lobby and stunning Duomo views.
Casa Talia – 1/9 Via Exaudinos (Modica); 011-39-9-3275-2075;; affordable; local ceramic tiles, Moroccan rugs, hand-wrought ironwork; impeccable service; owners will chauffeur you into Modica, arrange excursions (cooking classes, trips to quarries), etc.
Eremo della Giubiliana – Contrada Giubiliana, SP 25, km 7.5 (in Val di Noto, near Marina di Ragusa); 011-39-093-266-9119;; former monastery lovingly converted by Nifosi family into delightful boutique hotel.
Locanda Don Serafino – 15 Via XI Febbraio (Ibla-Ragusa); 011-39-093-222-0402;; 4 stars; restored, 19th Century mansion; excellent restaurant of same name.
Villa del Lauro – 11 Via Ecce Homo (Ragusa); 011-39-093-265-5177;; elegant Baroque building, pathways in old town center; large and elegant bedrooms with 4 star comforts (mini-bar, tv set, video intercom, cash box air conditioning); inside rooms even more charming, with garden views; elegant swimming pool positioned on 2 levels with hydro-massage area; refined outside furniture and enthralling lighting create perfect environment for unique and special occasion.
Hotel La Moresca – 63 Via Dandolo (Marina di Ragusa); 011-39-093-223-9495;; chic, luxury hotel situated in Marina di Ragusa’s heart; 15 minimalist rooms with original furniture (alongside modern concept pieces such as those by Artemide, Castiglioni, Eames, Poulsen, and Zanotta, as well as pieces designed by architects involved in renovation process); sitting room; original house built in 1926 and belonged to same aristocratic family since; artworks by 2 local artists (photographer Giuseppe Leone and painter Giovanni Lissandrello).
Palazzo Hedone – 51 Via Loreto (Scicli); 011-39-093-284-1187;; weekly rentals; built in 1737; reached by ascending steep stairs from San Bartolomeo Church's base; 11 guest rooms and 4 suites; 2 large sitting rooms; grassy terrace looks out over ocean.

Coria – 24 Via Infermeria (Caltagirone); 011-39-093-333-4615;; competitively priced, imaginative restaurant.
La Gazza Ladra – 5 Via Blandini (Modica); 011-39-093-275-5655;; high-end.
Iblabla – Via Calle Bartolotti (Ibla-Ragusa, off Piazza della Repubblica); 011-39-093-265-1888; locally beloved; pizzeria and restaurant in Palazzo Rosso known for boisterous happy hours.
La Locanda del Colonnello – 6 Vico Biscari; 011-39-093-275-2423;; La Gazza’s trattoria offshoot.
Locanda Don Serafino – 15 Via XI Febbraio (Ibla-Ragusa); 011-39-093-222-0402;; 90% kitchen products are from Ragusa; elaborations on traditional Sicilian fare, especially rabbit and tuna.
Monoresort Beach Club – Piazzatta Santa Chiara (Marina di Modici, on Contrada Maganuco); 011-39-093-245-3308;; fresh seafood in seaside-chic surroundings.
Ristorante Duomo – 31 Via Bocchieri (Ibla-Ragusa); 011-39-093-265-1265;; 2 Michelin stars; truffle gelato served in salted toast; salami of goat with wild vegetables; antipasto of octopus; black pork in chocolate sauce.
Trattoria di Pesce Donnalina – 76 Via Doria (Marina di Ragusa); 011-39-093-223-9888;; serves fish “100 ways.”

Dolceria Bonajuto – 159 Corso Umberto I (Modica); 011-39-093-294-1225;; perhaps Italy’s finest cioccolateria; produces cold-pressed chocolate, process derived from Aztec practices in 16th Century; make sure to try cannoli (legendary) and mpanatigghi (chocolate-meat-filled pies).
Salumeria Barocco – 80 Corso XXV Aprile (Ragusa); 011-39-093-265-2419;; regional raw milk cheeses, especially ricottas.

Basilica di San Giorgio – 5 Via San Michele (Modica Alta); 011-39-093-222-0085 or 011-39-093-294-1279;; impressive Sicilian baroque specimen; erected in 1775 by Rosario Gagliardi, well-known architect from Syracuse; elegant façade with 3 tiers of columns; flanked by side-bay surmounted by volute; stairway and volute, though recently constructed, harmoniously adapted; beautiful decorated mirror, representing San Giorgio’s martyrdom, by painter Vito D’Amore, adorns nave; sacristy contains marble ancona, Gagini school sculptures, and precious Saint’s “treasures.”
Chiesa di San Giuseppe – Piazza Pola (Ibla-Ragusa);; façade very similar to San Giorgio’s, hence attributed to Gagliardi; houses precious stuccoes, paintings, and several baroque pieces; elliptical front, inside, adorned with nice portal, baroque bell-tower, and beautiful silvered 17th Century statue of San Giuseppe.
Chiesa di Sant’Antonio – Via Orfanotrofio (formerly Santa Maria La Nuova); nice ogival portal from original Gothic construction; baroque portaletto (small portal).
Chiesa di Santa Maria dell’Idria – Ibla-Ragusa; from 1639, built at Knights of Malta behest; doorway bears, still visible, order’s Cross; altar, inside, sumptuously adorned with order’s ornaments; bell-tower stands left of church, ornamented with lovely floral panels of majolica from Caltagirone.
Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Scale – Via 24 Maggio (between Ibla-Ragusa and Ragusa); largely rebuilt after 1693 earthquake; retains original Gothic portal and bell-tower; inside, remarkable Gothic-Renaissance arches and 16th Century terracotta image of virgin Mary, of Gagini school.
Duomo – 134 Via Roma (Ragusa); 011-39-093-262-1599;; also known as Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista; construction started in 1694; dedicated to Ragusa’s patron saint; front elevation in Baroque style with imposing doorway flanked by belfry; on inside are precious stuccoes and Canonical House.
Ecce Homo Church – Via Ecce Homo (Ragusa); 011-39-093-262-1778; neoclassical 19th Century façade and intricately tiled nave.
Museo Archeologico Ibleo – 107 Via Natalelli (Ragusa); 011-39-093-262-2963; under Ponte Nuovo (new bridge); housed in Mediterraneo hotel’s 1st floor; displays finds from excavations in Ragusa territory; collection is topographically and chronologically arranged; 1st section displays relics ranging in date from Neolithic to Bronze Age; 2nd, exclusively devoted to material recovered in Kamarina, contains Necropolises’ equipment and material, artefacts, Hellenic and Roman ceramics; 3rd, displays relics from most ancient Sikel settlements; 4th, documents referring to Greek sites, notably to excavations at Scornavacche; 5th, Roman and late-Roman’s specimens, mainly from Kaukana and Santa Croce Camerina excavations, where floor mosaics belonging to early-Christian church discovered.
Palazzo Bertini – Corso Italia (Ibla-Ragusa); 011-39-093-267-6111; erected by Florida family towards 18th Century’s end and successively acquired by Bertinis, local aristocratic family; masks on its façade, which, according to tradition, personify pauper, merchant, and noble.
Palazzo Cosentini – Piazza della Repubblica (Ragusa);; most typical of all 18th Century buildings in town, with elegant balconies supported by ornamented corbels and sculptured animals and masks typical of Baroque Art.
Villa Communale – Ibla-Ragusa (public gardens at far end); very well-mantained; beautiful mountain range and Irminio valley views; hosts 3 churches: San Giorgio il Vecchio; Capuchins; and San Giacomo; Chiesa di San Giorgio il Vecchio (Saint George “Elder”) has amazing Gothic-Norman doorway bearing depiction Saint George killing dragon and Aragon’s eagles; dates back to Chiaramonte’s age; erected towards mid-1300s; Chiesa dei Cappuccini Vecchi (old capuchin church) has simple façade enriched with 4 parastas with Corinthian capitals that support neo-classic front with 2 small bells; inside, truss roof and 1 of most beautiful paintings in Ragusa, triptych by Pietro Novelli, depicting Virgin Mary surrounded by angels and saints (1 represents, self-portrait, painter himself); 14th Century Chiesa di San Giacomo (Church of Crucifix).

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