Caltagirone wasn’t originally in our itinerary, it was suggested by a local who revealed us one of those secrets you rarely hear about:”Go visit Caltagirone, where you’ll find a gorgeous staircase that is 130 meter long and whose steps are covered by polychromatic ceramic tiles”. Said, done. The day after we were there, thanking the serendipity for our fortunate encounter, because the staircase of Santa Maria del Monte is indeed an incredible work of art: each one of the 142 steps is covered by colorful tiles, and the most amazing thing is that each step has a different pattern. Not only that, but also the view from the top is spectacular.
Next stop: Ragusa Ibla. This lovely town was our first taste of the famous Barocco Siciliano, with its Duomo di San Giorgio strategically placed diagonally to be fully admired from the square. And it’s in the square that we discovered another treasure: the Gelateria DiVini where they produce a delicious gelato made with…wine. And (get ready) more precisely with: Brachetto, Moscato and Passito di Pantelleria. I also tried the gelato made with ricotta. No need to say anything else besides the fact that we were all almost levitating from the pleasure.
The Castello di Donnafugata is another insider tip I got from a Sicilian friend of mine. Even though it is called a castle, the building is actually a XIX century mansion. However, the reason why we included this location in our plan is its stone maze, which, in my opinion, is not very well made (the entrance and the exit are the same), but where the kids had a blast nevertheless.
After Donnafugata our plan was to visit Modica, but eventually we only drove through it, since we thought that the attractions we were seeing from the car weren’t worth a stop. Therefore we headed straight to our last destination: the lovely baroque town of Noto. First we checked-in our hotel, the Grand Hotel Sofia, dropped the luggage and then walked to the town center, unaware that we were about to have the best culinary experience ever at the Trattoria Ducezio, a hidden food sanctuary known by the locals. Walking by night on the streets of Noto was an unforgettable experience. The town offers a vibrant social life after the sunset, with groups of people chatting in the squares, sitting on the Cathedral steps or listening to the music of a street band. We returned the day after, early in the morning, to visit the Cathedral (which offers a pretty disappointing interior), but with the daylight the magic was gone. It would have returned a few hours later along with the moonlight.