Start the day early in Noto, about a 45-minute drive from Syracuse via the SS115. The city’s main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, packs in a whole host of beautiful baroque churches and palaces, as well as lots of places to eat. Head straight for Caffe Sicilia at number 125 and get dessert for breakfast – because, why not? You’ll want an espresso on account of the fact it’s early, a pastry of some sort to keep you going for the busy day ahead, and one of Caffe Sicilia’s famous granite – a crushed ice drink with fruit juice – to cool you down. Enjoy it all with a spot of people-watching out the front, then set off back along Corso Vittorio Emanuele and pick up a prosciutto-filled roll for lunch on the go.
A 45-minute drive west from Noto, again along the SS115, takes you to the city of Modica. Leave enough time to find a parking space as it can be tricky, then head straight for Dolceria Bonajuto on Corso Umberto – Modica’s main street. This is Sicily’s oldest chocolate factory, and the place to try Modica’s famous chocolate, which is flavoured with everything from cinnamon to chilli. Just bear in mind it’s closed between 1.30 and 4.30pm. So if you don’t quite make it in the morning you can eat your lunch while exploring Modica’s historic centre first, and save the chocolate-tasting for the early afternoon. You’ll be first in line.
Once you’ve had your fill of the sweet stuff, take the SS115 towards Ragusa, which will take about half an hour. Park in the car park underneath the Piazza della Repubblica and set off in the direction of Ragusa Ibla. It’s a bit of a walk, but it’s the hub of restaurants and traditional trattorias, so you’re well set up for dinner. Keep walking all the way out to Piazza Pola and you’ll find places like Il Barocco tucked down a side street. Try the fresh pasta and the caponata – traditional cooked vegetable salad – and wash it all down with some vino locale. Or, pull up a chair at La Rusticana, close by Corso XXV Aprile. It’s a similar, home-cooked affair, and it’s a big hit with the locals – which is truly the best recommendation you can get in Sicily.
Take a look at all of our holidays to Sicily and try out our road trip.
Author: Katie Gregory
The Villa San Marco may be secluded, but it puts you in a great place if you want to get out and explore by car. It’s close to the village of Palazzolo Acreide, and has links to all the main driving routes including the SS115.
The Parchotel Olimpo in Letojanni, just north of Taormina, comes with a hillside setting and an amazing outlook. It’s a bit of a drive from southern Sicily’s highlights, but the views are well worth the trip.
If you want to visit Mount Etna while you’re in Sicily, the Grand Hotel Miramare makes a great base. It’s in Taormina, so Etna is practically on your doorstep.
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