Planning a trip to Sicily and its baroque towns? Using Modica as your base is a brilliant idea. Our family stayed there for a week and we absolutely loved it. Here is a mini guide to Modica and surrounding area.
1. Chilling out with beautiful people at Sampieri
In the mornings we would head to nearby Sampieri, with its sandy, child-friendly beach. At Sampieri we would rent our beach chairs and umbrellas from Pata Pata Beach Club. It can get rather busy-especially on weekends-but it never felt overwhelmingly crowded and the staff is nice and accommodating. The on-site restaurant serves super-delicious pastas and fish dishes. The atmosphere is lively, almost party. Our 4 year-old daughter would first finish her gigantic plate of “pasta con ciliegini” before you could even say “Berlusconi”, and then, to our amazement, she would even ask for a “granita di limone” to top it off! Scary!
2. Lunch & dinner options in Modica
In late afternoon, we would drive back to Modica, have a shower, take a nap and then head downtown, which took around 10 minutes on foot. We had some lovely dinners at Pizzeria “La Contea” and superbly cooked Sicilian dishes at Trattoria “A Putia ro Vinu” . If you feel romantic, head to Ristorante “Torre D’ Oriente”, with its gourmet dishes and majestic views over Modica Bassa. Now that I think of it, I don’t recall having had bad or even mediocre food in Sicily. It was always simply fantastic. We had a fully-equipped kitchen in our little house and we would often visit the local grocery store to stock on aromatic fruits and juicy vegetables. Not to mention the kilos of local ricotta, we consumed….Absolutely divine!
After dinner, we would have a nice walk along the “Corso Umberto I”, lined with cafes, gelaterias and boutiques. Not to be missed is the toy store called “Il giocattolaio di Pisana Giovanni” and the chocolate factory “Antica Dolceria Bonajuto”.
3. Visit Ragusa
From Modica, it’s just a 10 minutes drive to Ragusa, another picture-perfect baroque sicilian town. There, I had one of my life’s best “pasta con le sarde”, a typical Sicilian dish. For the little ones, there is a nice park (Giardino Ibleo) complete with children’s playground at the beginning of Corso XXV Aprile.
4. Go sailing to Portopalo di Capopassero
One of the highlights of our holidays was a half day excursion on a sailboat we booked through a local agent. The latter offered a variety of excursions departing from the little harbor of Marzamemi (30 minutes drive from Modica). We chose the shorter of all, which includes a swim at the azure waters of Portopalo di Capopassero. Now, that was fun! For the more adventurous types, try the Malta excursion that last 3-4 days! When you are back to Marzamemi, don’t forget to ask Juri-your skipper-to show you the way to the little tavern by the harbor. Go and ask for the antipasti, it’s a real feast! The only time I had so fresh and tasty seafood was years ago in Greece, at the little town of Pollonia on the Cycladic island of Milos, but this is another story!
A somehow less child-friendly option would be to visit Syracuse. It might work, if you allow plenty of gelato stops to your itinerary. Might also be a good idea to take the train from Modica. It takes around one and a half hours and it should make the journey more exciting for the little ones and care-free for the old guys!
Love to hear your comments and/or suggestions! Cheers!