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.
For a guy that spent a good part of his high school years studying ancient history, a visit to Sicily without paying homage to Ancient Athens’ biggest source of envy and one of the most powerful and glorious cities of Antiquity, would have been almost like performing an act of sacrilege. Firstly of course, I had to convince my wife and daughter that this is a matter of utmost importance for my Greek existence and thus we had to skip one day at the beach. When I realized they were not biting it, I had to bribe them by adding several gelato and shopping breaks to the itinerary. That was it then. We had an agreement!
Some people tend to think of Sicily as a chaotic and sometimes intimidating place. To be honest, I was a little bit hesitating to take the family there. “Think positive”, I urged myself. Sicily is after all a must-see destination, the land where Mediterranean’s greatest civilizations flourished, leaving behind unique monuments. When at school, I was deeply fascinated by the history of “Magna Graecia”, the Great Greece! As I was booking our flights, my mind was already traveling towards the glorious, greater-than-life ancient sites of Syracuse and Agrigento.
The flight from Helsinki to Catania went smoothly. I love Finnair for its friendly service, attention to details, beautiful design and tasty food they serve. Next stop: Modica. We were very lucky to find a modern, 1-bedroom, fully renovated, 2-story house in Modica, just a short drive from the sea and near Syracuse. The people that run the properties are fantastic! (www.monoresort.com)
The brand new highway from Catania to Syracuse runs through a rather uneventful scenery of arid bushland, steep cliffs at a far distance and a massive industrial zone along the coast. After an hour’s drive, we exited the highway and started climbing inland. To our contempt, the Iblean plateau where Ispica, Modica, Noto and Ragusa are located, consists of colorful patches of cultivated land. Among the citrus and olive trees, you get glimpses of majestic estates, only to vanish again behind lush gardens. Suddenly, a deep canyon cuts the plateau, and there she is: Modica! The view of the baroque town rising amphitheatrically from the floor of the valley is breathtaking, almost untrue. Modica greets you with the flair of an aristocratic grand dame, elegant and welcoming at the same time. This is when our love story with Sicily began!