A journey of surprises to Sicily, south Italy

Тази статия може да я прочетете и на: Български

Sicily is a strange place. There are a lot of tourists because of the popular sites like Palermo, Siracusa and Mount Etna.. But not far from them you find yourself in a deep countryside. Outside the crowded cities and tourist sites Sicily looks really calm.

We reached Sicilian soil in the early afternoon of early May 2014. We are in the middle of our honeymoon and so far we have seen such wonders of civilization like Naples and Pompeii. Now we are looking forward to what we are expecting to be the more romantic part of our journey – the sunny beaches and calm villages of Sicily.

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Сицилия 37.599994, 14.015356

Our first meeting with the island is far from these dreams. Messina is a big and noisy city but we quickly got out of it and headed for Catania.

Vizzini and the restaurant in a cave

Vizzini - Сицилия

Vizzini, Sicily

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Визини 37.160727, 14.750347

So it was 5pm, we were in the middle of a town with no place to stay and no internet. We opened the tourist guide but all it was saying about Sicily was about Palermo and Catania. In the book we saw a small picture of a village named Vizzini, located on a hill somewhere not far from Catania. It appeared to be not far from our current location so we decided to give it a chance. After an hour we were there but Vizzini surprised us too. There was no hotel in this town. Local people told us about a farm (Agriturismo Hotel Affittacamere ‘A Cunziria) nearby acting as a hotel as well. It was almost dark outside when we found it.

2017 – now you can find some hotels in Vizzini :)

Vizzini

The farm itself was quite a nice place offering local food in the restaurant. The restaurant looked very attractive because it was built in a cave. In the evening we tried the traditional Sicilian pizza with veal but we didn’t actually like it. The wine was good though.

We were lucky to find internet there so after dinner we started researching for our next destination.

 Agriturismo Hotel Affittacamere 'A Cunziria

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Хотел Визини 37.165036, 14.752665

After all, Vizzini proved to be an interesting and a little run-down town in the deep countryside of Sicily. With its narrow streets and old, not rich-looking houses, it looked like a scene from The Godfather. The streets looked deserted but the main square was crowded. There we had a nice talk with a local man walking his cute dog Milly. We had to explain that Sofia was in Bulgaria, not in Romania, but it was probably because we were the first Bulgarians this town had seen lately. After all, the town is a little poor but very charming.

Vizzini

Vizzini

Vizzini

Vizzini

Vizzini

Vizzini

Vizzini

Mimi and the dog Milly

Vizzini

Modica and the Aztec chocolate

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Modica 36.858821, 14.760812

Modica is quite more touristic place than Vizzini, located in Southеastern Sicily. Many culture sites, museums and guest houses make the city friendly for tourists. Modica is also well-known for its chocolate – inspired by Aztec original recipe. We were calmly greeted in our hostel and we were given a bottle of champagne and some sweets as a gift for our honeymoon.

Modica

The view from Bed and Breakfast Luna Blu

Modica proved to be a very nice place, you could spend a week walking among the old houses, drinking coffee and eating ice cream and chocolate. The old town is built on two opposite hills and exploring it you need to climb lots of stairs. The beautiful churches of San Giorgio and San Pietro are among the biggest tourist attractions in Modica.

Duomo Di San Pietro and around

Duomo Di San Pietro Modica

Duomo Di San Pietro Modica

Modica

Modica

Cathedral of San Giorgio and around

Modica

Modica

A museum of chocolate is also working, telling the story of Modica chocolate (Cioccolato di Modica) inspired by the original Aztec recipe. This special chocolate is a little bit different from what we expected. It is not like Belgian or Swiss milk chocolate but more like dark chocolate. It has a peculiar grainy texture and aromatic flavor. We didn’t like it much but our friends who like dark chocolate loved it.

Modica chocolate

Cioccolata Modicana

Cioccolata Modicana

Dinner in a local osteria

We had dinner in a traditional Sicilan pub where the whole menu was written in Sicilian language, not Italian. Luckily there were pictures of all the dishes so we could understand what we are ordering.

L’Osteria dei Sapori Perduti è in pieno centro storico modicano

Modica was also a scene of the famous TV series Inspector Montalbano.

More Modica

Modica

Modica

Modica

The next morning we had a walk around the city and decided to visit the small town of Scicli before heading for our next destination – Mount Etna. It is a nice place for a walk, similar to Modica and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sea near Sicily

Scicli

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Шикли 36.793205, 14.706984

Scicli

Scicli

Scicli

Scicli

Scicli

Scicli

Шикли Scicli

Next destination – Mount Etna. We booked a villa in the foot of the volcano but before going there we decided to visit Siracusa. It took us a lot of time to find the center of Siracusa because there were almost no signs saying Centro. Instead a lot of signs pointed towards a place named Ortigia and we finally found out that it was the historical centre of Siracusa, located on a peninsula. Beautiful old buildings again, romantic streets, a big central square and a cathedral (Duomo). We didn’t spend much time there but it was nice as you can see on the photos.

One hour in Siracusa

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Сриакуза 37.061616, 15.295200

Siracusa, Sicily

Il duomo in Siracusa, Sicily

Mount Etna and Ragalna village

We arrived in our hotel at the foot at Mount Etna at Ragalna village, in the early evening. Up in the mountains it was cloudy and rainy. But the house was great, the hosts, Vincenzo and Daniela, were very kind to offer us a big bungalow as a gift for our honeymoon at no additional cost.  We had a glass of wine together with them and they told us that they were not afraid living next to a volcano. They said it was very beautiful when Mount Etna erupted at night and luckily all the lava flow was on the other side of the mountain so it was not dangerous for them. We loved our stay at Bed and breakfast Domus Verdiana, we will be back one day.

On our last day in Sicily we wanted to go to Mount Etna but the weather was not very helpful. We couldn’t take the cable car because of the thick fog and we could only have a short walk to the nearby small craters. Because of the fog we couldn’t make many photos of Mount Etna but at least we tried. After that we took the panoramic road around the volcano and headed for Messina and then back to Calabria. Our next destination was the village of Frascineto but I will tell you about it in another post.

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Етна 37.751005, 14.993435

Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy

Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy

Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy

Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy

Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy

Етна

This is my story from Sicily, I hope you enjoyed my little trip there.



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