Today we will take you to South-eastern Sicily. Thanks to its flavors and colors, the region lends itself to wonderful love stories and legends over time. Here we recommend some romantic spots – and pots – in south-eastern Sicily for you to discover with your loved ones.
Sicilian love stories… in a pot!
Sicilian art is full of romantic stories and particularly in the so-called Teste di Moro, ceramic vases depicting the head of a Moor and a beautiful Sicilian woman. Have you ever seen them before? The legend says that around the year 1100 D.C. a beautiful girl from Palermo lived locked up in the house taking care of the plants on her balcony and one day, she was seen by a young Moor who fell in love with her. However, the Moor had a family in his homeland and when he revealed this news to the girl, of course she got angry and she decided to take revenge by cutting off his head which she used as a pot for one of her plants.
The balcony became very beautiful and all the neighbors stared at her balcony wanting the same vases she had. That’s the legend behind how Teste di Moro were created and how, after so many decades, they have become glamour pieces that you can buy in one of the many artisan ceramic shops you will find almost everywhere in Sicily.
Modica Old Town and pastry delicastessen
Start your romantic journey in Modica Bassa (the old town in lower Modica city), in one of the many cafeterias or chocolaterias. Here you can enjoy an excellent ice cream or granita, a kind of sorbet made with pistachios or almond or other flavors of your choice. For this sweet speciality we recommend that you visit the Adamo pastry shop, and possibly accompany it with the traditional brioche with “tuppo”.
Another special “pit stop” in Modica bassa is for Modica chocolate and cannoli also known as “holy cannoli” for someone who particularly loves them! Cannoli are traditional “street food” desserts made with a crunchy crust filled with ricotta cheese cream and pistachios. That could be your very typical Sicilian breakfast together with a good espresso coffee. Find the best chocolate and cannoli dessert at the Bonajuto chocolate shop.
Once you have finished your like-a-local morning routine, walk towards Via Garibaldi which leads to a beautiful staircase surrounded by bougainville flowers. Then climb up to get to the Cathedral of San Giorgio which overlooks the side of the hill with its typical small houses which look like a nativity scene. The view is spectacular and a romantic selfie is a must.
Romantic tip: the perfect time to go during the Summer is in the early morning or after sunset due to the high temperatures in the middle of the day.
Dunes in Marina di Modica
If you are near Modica, you must enjoy the natural spectacle that extends from Punta Regilione in Marina di Modica to the entire bay surrounding this small sea village. Its beautiful dunes are the place to be for a romantic sunset or a wonderful yoga or meditation session.
Romantic tip: from Marina di Modica you can visit Sampieri, a typical fishing village, or to Pozzallo which offers a very beautiful promenade full of excellent restaurants and live music.
Marzamemi fishing village
Marzamemi is a nice, small fishing village which has been fascinating many tourists with its lively colors from early morning to late at night. Its main square is an abundance of nice shops and excellent typical restaurants offering aperitifs, good wine and of course local fish dishes. You can also find gourmet and high level restaurants with amazing views. Imagine yourself relaxed while having your glass of wine and staring at the sea; this really deserves to be done!
Romantic tip: you can enjoy the crystal clear sea of Marzamemi in the afternoon, while we recommend that you enjoy an aperitivo in one of the many restaurants in this small village. The typical aperitif is based on paranza (fried fish). Then enjoy a candlelit dinner and an after-dinner drink on one of the many boats converted to a cocktail bar.
Glamour in Ortigia
If you are near Syracuse, which is also a must for a cultural trip, we recommend visiting the renowned island of Ortigia, now a chic and elegant destination for many tourists. You can find amazing shops and art collections there, and usually women always fall in love with it… together with a good rosé wine to drink!
Culinary specialties (actually you can find them almost all over southeastern Sicily) are fried pasta with anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs, ravioli stuffed with fish, cavatelli with tuna bottarga and cherry tomatoes, and lolli pasta with pork sauce or broad beans.
Among the second courses, we recommend grilled or seasoned tuna, grouper with olives and capers and fish soup. Remember also to taste typical starters as fried fish (paranza) and caponata with eggplants, a truly must have when in Sicily.
Romantic tip: visit the archeological park with its Roman amphitheater in Syracuse.
Culture and art in Noto
The city of Noto offers delicious romantic moments, whether it be through strolling among the majestic Baroque treasures such as churches and buildings or enjoying local traditions that make Sicily a place of authentic flavors. Noto is also renowned for its excellent gourmet and starred restaurants, art galleries, exhibitions and events, especially during the Summertime.
Romantic tip: in May you have to experience the Infiorata, the most special flower event during the year. The famous staircase in the middle of the town is covered by lots of petals and flowers used to recreate images and scenes of real life and the city offers lovely markets, music and traditional shows made by local people.
The old city of Ragusa Ibla offers romantic views to explore, small shops to discover and amazing restaurants to enjoy the good life. Ragusa Ibla is also perfect for couples traveling by motorbike which allows them to explore more freely and stop everywhere they want. It is a fact that baroque cities are popular for their many glimpses, spots and places to visit along the way, in an unexpected way.
Romantic tip: strolling and relaxing inside the super romantic Ibleo garden. You will love it for sure!
Last but not least, we highly recommend the town of Scicli – beautiful by day, but even more romantic and lively in the evening. For an aperitif, a dinner or an ice cream wandering through the alleys, Scicli is a real gem that offers really delicious little shops and cafes for all tastes.
Scicli is also renowned for being the set of many TV series such as Montalbano based on the novels of Andrea Camilleri.
Romantic tip: before or after a day tour in Scicli, you can reach Donnalucata for a special dinner or an ice cream. In our opinion, Donnalucata is a delightful seaside village with excellent restaurants, artisan pottery shops and a tranquil vibe that many couples adore.
Vincenzo Peluso is CEO at Isula Travel. Isula Travel is a holiday villa rental company, providing a bespoke experience in luxury villas across Italy and Croatia.
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