Noto or Caltagirone

Old Apr 8th, 2019, 07:32 AM
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Noto or Caltagirone

Hello all,

Between our stays in Ortigia and Trapani, we are left with a choice on where to spend 3 nights between these two destinations. Closer to Noto or Caltagirone?

We have chosen beautiful accommodations near both but we cannot decide which place is more interesting to be close to (we are also planning a day trip to Ragusa, which is about the same distance from both Noto and Caltagirone)?

Thanks you very much.
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Old Apr 8th, 2019, 07:35 AM
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I'd chose whichever is closest to the Villa Casale....
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Old Apr 8th, 2019, 07:48 AM
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Hi thursdaysd,

With only two days available, we will not have time to visit Villa Casale, so we need advice on which town is more interesting, Noto or Castelgirone?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Apr 8th, 2019, 08:16 AM
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Sorry, I would rate Villa Casale above both. Above all sights in Sicily aside from Monreale's cathedral and Agrigento's temples. Otherwise it depends on how much you like baroque vs. how much you like ceramics. You have to make that choice.
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Old Apr 8th, 2019, 10:52 AM
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Would you mind posting your chosen accommodations? I am thinking of a trip to SE Sicily, combined with part of Spain, for next May or June (2020). Just curious about that and about Thursday's comments, too.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 12:59 PM
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I second thursdaysd's recommendation to prioritise Villa Casale, which less than an hour from Caltagirone but more like two from Noto. That would decide the matter for me. Also you could easily see Noto and Ragusa en route to Caltagirone [and possibly Modica as well] depending on your interest in Baroque towns,

And unless you have a massive interest in mosaics, you could see Caltagirone after the Villa; though Piazza Armarina which is the medieval town next to the Villa Casale is also worth a look round, Caltagirone is better.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 02:20 PM
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Visit Villa Romana and stay in Noto. Central Sicily is not as attractive as the areas nearer to the coasts.
Then you can dine at Manna in Noto, reason enough to choose it.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 03:32 PM
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I agree with all those who say don't miss Villa Casale. We spent a day and evening in Noto and pretty much saw it all. Caltagirone we spent a few hours. It was a Sunday so much was closed. But I'd still say NOto was the more interesting to me.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 05:21 PM
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Another vote for definitely including the Villa Romana. I found Noto to be a nice place to stop for a few hours in the late afternoon/evening, not sure I would have needed more time than that. But agree that Noto is probably more interesting & prettier that Caltagirone. I was a little disappointed by our stop in Caltagirone, but we probably didn't leave enough time. I found it difficult to orient because of where we parked (behind the town). I think we were on our way to Villa Romana that day, which was amazing and I'm happy to say I'm going back next week!
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 06:56 PM
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I agree that skipping Villa Romana Del Casale would be a huge miss. We drove all the way from Agrigento to see it and then back to Agrigento to pick up our luggage and continue to Selinunte. It was so worth a detour. The mosaics are amazingly well preserved, the colors are so vivid, the images are so distinct...It was like a journey back to the glorious days of Ancient Rome.

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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 07:30 PM
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Thank you all for your advice.

We have decided to stay in the Noto countryside. This way, we can visit Noto, Ragusa and Modica and we will stop at the Villa Casale on our way to Trapani.

We visited Ravenna a few years ago and found the mosaics there simply incredible, so we are excited to see mosaics from a slightly earlier Roman period.

We are really looking forward to our trip and we now have finally chosen all of the destinations for our Calabria/Sicily road trip this summer.

Thanks for helping us plan!
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Old Apr 10th, 2019, 02:49 AM
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I think that you are going to find the drive from Noto to Trapani including a visit to the Villa a very long one as well as a long day, but certainly Noto and the area around it is very interesting. Have a great trip!
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Old Apr 10th, 2019, 03:09 AM
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If you like Baroque architecture, then add Scicli to Ragusa and Modica. Scicli is a short drive from Modica and is absolutely charming. The locals call it “Tutto Baroque” and it is true: every building, palazzo, church is a Baroque treasure.
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Old Apr 10th, 2019, 05:28 AM
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Thanks annhig. We are very excited as Sicily has been on our radar for years. Even if we do not get to see the whole Villa, at least we will have visited it. It will be a long day of travel, but we are used to it

Scicli does look wonderful. We wanted to visit Modica for their chocolate, and we may have a few hours to dedicate to Scicli as well, if that is enough time.. Thanks for the information, vininobile987.
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Old Apr 10th, 2019, 09:36 AM
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airBalloon - it was the same for us - I fell in love with the Baroque towns especially after watching Montalbano but it took us a while to get there - in fact it was a 60th birthday present from my DH!

We liked Scicli very much. It was a lot quieter and downplayed compared to the other Baroque towns but none the worse for that and a couple of hours should be fine. If you are there at the right time a great place for lunch is the Ristorante-Caffe' Sicilia in the Corso Garibaldi. We started off just having a drink there but where we saw the food coming out we decided to eat at one of the tables outside under umbrellas and we were not disappointed - the fish anti pasto was excellent, which I think we shared along with melon and prosciutto.

The villa is not that big but there is a lot to see. It got quite hot towards midday so we were glad we had got there reasonably early. As we got to the entrance we were accosted by the official guides who asked for €50 for a guided tour. That was rather more than we wanted to pay but we quite liked the idea of a tour as well so we accepted their suggestion to sit down to see if anyone else turned up and just as we were deciding to move on, a party of 4 turned up so we decided to go round together. It was an excellent tour and the guide made sure that we saw everything properly despite there being quite a lot of people there. I think we gave her €10 each so she had a decent tip for about 75 minutes. We could have stayed longer if we wanted to and indeed we did wander round by ourselves for a while afterwards, but that was long enough for us.

As for being used to long drives, good luck. We live in the UK and are used to driving conditions that people who live elsewhere might find "difficult" and we have drive a lot in the rest of Europe including Italy but driving in Sicily was something else. The motorways were fine but after that the road conditions, and behaviour of other drivers could be described as erratic. Apart from that, I'm sure you will have a great time.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 01:58 PM
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Hi annhig,

We have reserved a hotel in the countryside about 4km outside Noto. It will give us time to explore the region, being able to see the baroque towns and also being able to spend one or two evenings in Noto for dinner.

We have driven in many regions of Europe so we understand what it is like when you get off the main roads and motorways, but that just adds to the fun and adventure We do not mind long drives and we will either stop at the Villa Casale or in Agrigento on our way to Trapani, which will, of course, change the route we take. We will also take your advice and eat at the Ristorante Caffe Sicilia. Looks great.

We have planned and reserved our trip as follows: 3 nights in Naples, 5 nights in Tropea, 3 nights in Ortigia, 3 nights in Noto, 4 nights in Trapani and 3 nights in Palermo.

Needless to say, but I will say it again, we are very excited!!

Thanks again.
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 06:52 AM
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That looks like an excellent itinerary and I'm sure you will enjoy it immensely. The food was terrific wherever we went; dare I say that I prefer it to most mainland italian food? The quality of the ingredients is superb of course but there are also the unique Sicilian dishes like caponata, granita, canoli, the way they serve water with your expresso as a matter of course [and in one place mixed still and sparkling water in the same glass without being asked] and much more.

As for the excitement of being on the minor roads, I hope you avoid the excitement that we had on leaving Ortigia when the minor road onto which we ventured had clearly suffered a land slip and there was only half a road to drive along for about an hour - and not a straight half either - and that is not to mention the potholes! Fortunately we didn't meet anyone else for the entire time we were on it - obviously the locals knew some thing we didn't.

Finally you might enjoy this TR that I found here today.

Buon viaggio - and I look forward to reading about your trip when you get back.
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 11:42 AM
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OP AB,
Noto= best gelato on the planet (I do not say that lightly) @ Costanza's, better than the nearby Bourdain-endorsed competitors. IMHO Modica's grainier chocolate is an acquired taste, not bad at all, but possibly underwhelming to those used to say, Swiss styles and like that.
As mentioned by others above, if you are interested in ancient Rome, then the Villa Romana is unmissable. One can avoid crowds by arriving at opening time.
Tante belle cose.
I am done. The lucapal.
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