southeast sicily town as home base

Old Jun 20th, 2017, 12:28 AM
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*4 am Italy TIME
TravelinFeet is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2017, 02:48 AM
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From my personal point of view, a place with a literal upper and lower town is probably out, unless the climb is only once a day, because a lot of up and down is just more than I can handle. OTOH I don't want to stay someplace boring, just because it's taxing. And because I don't want to be on my feet more than say 5 hours a day, a place with a big piazza (or other things to do sitting) would be wonderful)>>

well Ragusa might fill your bill, as there is a bus from the bottom of Ragusa Ibla [the bus stop is to the left of the giardino publico at the bottom of the hill, tickets from the little Tabac in the row of shops opposite] up to Ragusa Superiore from which you can walk down all those stars-cases beloved of the photographers and the camera-operators who filmed the credits for Montalbano! I suppose that the whole excursion took us about 3 hours, so that is well within your timetable.

on a scale of 1-10 [1 being the least touristy place you can think of, 10 being the most] I suppose it ranks about a 5-6 - yes there are a lot of tourists but it isn't swamped by them/us and it is a truly delightful place, with a lovely piazza in front of the Cathedral [the first one I've ever sat in that's on such a steep slope!] ideal for people watching. Wonderful food too.

Ortigia I would say is more touristy than most of Siracusa [again a 6 v a 3-4] but its charm completely outweighs any disadvantages. Not wanting to argue with massimop on the aperativo question, we did find some bars that in the evening were offering cocktails like Spritz, and with them came large helpings of snacks, which were really enough for a full meal. That may of course be a matter of pandering to the tourists but that wasn't the impression we had as they weren't advertised. And once you wander off the beaten track it's easy to get away from the crowds.

We also stayed in Piazza Amerina which is very untouristy - nearly everyone goes to the Villa Casale on a day trip and avoids the town which is medieval rather than Baroque as it was unaffected by the earthquake which destroyed the other places. Palazzolo Acreide also struck us as a reasonably neglected place so far as over-night stays are concerned, as did Caltagirone which is worth visiting not only for the famous ceramic staircase but also the lovely shops selling pottery and things for those who collect figures for their presepe [nativity scenes] - there were some very beautiful and elaborate displays.

These are not really villages but they would probably be more your cup of tea than the bigger tourist centres.
annhig is online now  
Old Jun 20th, 2017, 06:01 AM
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oops - I should also say that we spend half a day or so in Scicli and we liked that a lot too. we did see some tourists - mostly german cyclists - but it was by no means overwhelmed. it would also be a nice place to stay, though perhaps a little quiet for us.
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Old Jun 20th, 2017, 08:28 AM
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From the time we have spent in Ortigia I would say the crowded and touristy factor is about a 3 to Venice's 10.

Modica may be slightly more authentic than Ortigia, but from our experience, after seeing the baroque churches and architecture, and climbing to the top of town to see the sunset, there is not a not to do in Modica. I don't regret staying there, but if I had a choice to only stay one place, it would be Ortigia. There is much more to do, it is not difficult IMO to do daytrips from there, and it's more interesting by far, having also the Greek and Roman temple and theater ruins.

You only need to get off the main thoroughway in Ortigia to get away from the retail aspect. Piazza del Duomo is one of my favorite spots in Italy. And yes, we had aperitivi, but this last visit, I found the quality of the food is related to where you are. Tourist zone = tourist food.

Sicilian people are famously friendly, whether you are in a small town or otherwise. Just show some personal interest, and the smiles come out.

Snow--hmm what time of year are you going??

Here you will find my photos of Modica and Siracusa, and other Sicilian locations if you're interested:

I would post a link to my trip report but it seems not to be working unfortunately.

Have a great trip, you can't go wrong in Sicily.
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Old Jun 20th, 2017, 10:43 AM
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Yes, the thing to "do" in Modica is to figure out what's going on, observing the local life. The town itself is quite beautiful for such a small, seemingly out of the way place. I think one of the reasons people have the impression there's little to do in Modica is because there are one or 2 b&bs at the periphery of town that have swimming pools and nice views overlooking the town (and easy parking), but not much is going on up there. The place to be is the heart of town, along the Corso Umberto 1, which cuts a long swath right down the middle of Modica "Bassa". There are quite a few hotels, b&bs there, and many bars, restaurants (plus some historic & cultural attractions).

Here are some nice links about Modica (and a bit of Ragusa)
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Old Jun 21st, 2017, 03:24 AM
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We are traveling to Sicily in September and enjoyed watching "Paolo Borsellino i57 giorni" starring Luca Zingarett.i" Takes place in Palermo.
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 04:38 AM
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YOu all are amazing! Thanks sooooo much! Annhig, funny but I had just come up with a couple of those names, just from a map, so the info is especially helpful. And all the info on the more known towns is great too!

I'd love the info on the trip report --sundriedtopepo could you maybe tell me the title and I could search for it?

I realized that the touristy part that bothers me the most is when fake stuff is done to attract tourists -- my daughter and I spent hours getting to a small mountain town in the Rhone valley only to find it was all a "put on" -- nothing real at all. Just tourist junk, including the houses. I don't mind preservation, in fact that's great! And I "get" the sales of tourist junk that keeps people feeding their children. It's when they create places and stuff that isn't real, but rather Disneyland (like some of the ski towns in Colorado and that place in France) that I hate it.

OTOH a neglected town as mentioned by annhig immediately attracts my attention, as do the stone villages of course!

Many many thanks -- now I'm off again to do some more research!

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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 10:10 PM
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TravelinFeet, agree totally with the above.
Here is the trip report,

Scroll down about a third of the way and you will find the Sicily portion of our trip.
sundriedtopepo is offline  
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