There is something about Sicily that I find so inviting. Under the radar of the average tourist, I spent hours and hours organizing road/train trips around Sicily that never worked out because 1) THE famous frat group originated from this island which leads to point 2) everyone is up in arms when my itinerary includes Sicily. ‘Okay’, I mutter, ‘let’s go to Napoli instead, it does have a volcano too.’
On a serious note, it’s not as bad as people, even Italians, make it sound. But then, we hit uber ancient and sleepy cities in the south, so who am I to judge? Regardless, Sicily is on the top of my – MUST GO BACK – list.
So, when we hung out in Malta with wild European teenagers, we were pleasantly surprised to see guided day tours to Sicily plastered all over touristy spots. We jumped at the opportunity and booked a day trip to Sicily, 90 minutes away on express ferry. The day started at 5am and ended at midnight, inclusive of ferry and bus hopping, history and delicious food (not on the ferry of course).
We arrived at Pozallo, on the south of the island, and headed to Island of Ortigia in Syracuse for some Greekiness. Once upon a time it was the most important Greek city, founded by ancient Greeks. Right now, this seaside town is a charming nook that not only blends a variety of architectural styles but exudes the feeling of warmth. After all, it is Syracuse’s heart. We ambled around the piazzas and labyrinths of little streets between Baroque style (not limited to Baroque) buildings with unique balconies. Underneath the blue skies, we couldn’t ask for more.
Just to remind you, Sicily, the largest island on the Mediterranean, was inhabited by literally, AND I MEAN literally, every empire, soldier, religion, ancient subject you can guess. Did you say pygmy hippo? Play on because you are right!
Later that afternoon, we drove towards the Province of Ragusa on our way to Marina di Ragusa. When we approached Ragusa from atop, we were amazed by the panoramic view and pastoral hues, which looked atmospheric under the gloomy skies. It sits on a hill between two valleys. Because of it’s eccentric geography, the city has an upper and lower town with architecture influenced by the usual suspects and a deadly earthquake.
We strolled around the old port of Marina Di Ragusa, once an old port now greenhouse farming, where Sicilians spend their summers on the beach and winters in nightclubs.
Finally we headed to the Baroque town of Modica, UNESCO world heritage site, that resembled Ragusa from atop. It consists of an upper and lower Modica connected by a small passageway with stairs. We climbed up the stairs to check out Cathedral San Georgio, a Baroque design that goes back to the Middle Ages. We spent a relaxing afternoon observing simple things that contribute to the richness of this quaint town until we headed back to the port.
Words can’t express what good-lookin’ Sicily has to offer, and generally Southern Italy in my opinion. Character, history, volcanoes, siesta, UNESCO, low prices, rich food, olives, the list goes on and on. Defo going back.