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 Syracuse Free Walking Tou

Syracuse Free Walking Tour

Every Tuesday & Friday afternoon (summer months and Christmas period)

  • Visiting Modica, the town of the hundred churches

    St. George's church in ModicaThere are at least two good reasons to visit Modica, in the southeastern limit of Sicily: its superbe churches in baroque style and its traditional and particular local chocolate. Modica is located on Hyblean plateau, near Ragusa. The houses of the town are on a hill and descend into the surrounging valleys remembering the seeds of an open pomegranate as writed by the Sicilian author Gesualdo Bufalino. Modica was destroyed by an earthquake in 1693 and was then rebuilt in its superbe baroque style. Thanks to the elegance of the architecture of its buildings, the town is inserted in the Unesco world heritage list.

    It is easy to arrive to Modica from Syracuse or Catania using the Catania-Siracusa-Gela freeway and the SS115 national street. Modica is also served by two public bus services and has a train station. Trains are not recommended because the service is very inefficient in Sicily excluding the nice baroque train, a touristic line active during the summer months.

    Focus point of a visit to Modica is corso Umberto, the main street. A good starting point for a trip is piazza Matteotti. The Chiesa del Carmine church is located on the square. It's one of the few churches which wasn't destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Note the portal built in elegant sicilian-gothic ("Chiaramontano") style. The portal is decorated with a nice rosette window. The most important artwork inside the church is the marble sculpture "Annunciazione" (Annunciation). Moving up along the corso, you'll soon see the clock tower (torre dell'orologio) on the hilltop. The tower is built on the remains of the old medieval castle of Modica. In the 13th century Modica became a powerful county, the most important in Sicily, under the administration of the Chiaramonte family and the Cabrera family.

    Turning into via Marchesa Tedeschi it is possible to visit the interesting Santa Maria di Betlem church. Highlights of this church are the ancient gothic Cabrera chapel and the permanent Christmas crib with figures made of terracotta by the renowned masters of Caltagirone. The landscape and the clothes are inspired by the ancient Sicilian rural livestyle. In 1902 Modica was hit by a flood. A line drawn on the wall, near the church's entrances marks the height reached by the water during these terrible days.

    Modica, panorama viewReturning on the main street, corso Umberto, you'll soon arrive to the St. Peter's church. It's the most beautiful church of Modica togheter with the St. George's church located near the ancient castle on the hilltop. The stairway is decorated with the statues of the apostoles. The inside is decorated with superlative stuccoworks. The lateral chapels are letterally filled with artworks. Highlights are the Trapani Madonna statue and the statue of St. Peter and the paralytic, realized in a very realistic and dramatic style.

    If you like walking, the little streets which climb to the hilltop are surely worth a visit. It is also possible ti visit the birthhouse of the writer Salvatore Quasimodo, who won the Nobel price for literature in 1959.

    On the top of the hill, facing the historica centre in the lower part of the town, is the St. George's church. The stairway and the luminous baroque facade are magnificient. The inner side of the church is decorated with white and golden stuccoworks and with a lot of paintings and other artworks. The most important paintings inside the church are the Assunta of Filippo Paladini and the polyptych of Bernardino Niger behind the main altar. The meridian realized on the floor before the altar is also very interesting.

    Modica is also famous for its traditional chocolate. A stop at one of the many chocolate shops is a must visiting Modica. The chocolate of Modica is inspired by an ancient recipe brought by the Spanish, during their domination of Sicily, directly from the Aztechs in America. The chocolate is raw and is worked without milk. It is realized in many unusual flavours like orange, cinnamon or chili pepper.

    Visiting Modica with a private guide

    If you are looking for a guided visit of Modica you can visit the website of Hermes-Sicily. It is a group of tour guides which organizes visits in the south east part of Sicily. For further informations it is also possible to write an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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  • Visiting Noto, the baroque pearl of Sicily

    Noto, in the province of Syracuse, in the south-eastern part of Sicily, is one of the "baroque jewels" of the island. Thanks to the magnificent architectural details of its churches and nobiliary buildings, the town  belongs to the world culture heritage list of Unesco. The town is also known as "stone garden". If you are visiting eastern Sicily, Noto is surely worth a visit. It's possible to visit the historic town center in a half day. In a full day it's also possible to visit the surroundings: the roman mosaics of the Tellaro villa, the nature reserve of Vendicari, the archaeological area of Noto antica (ancient Noto).

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  • Visiting the necropolis of Pantalica

    The rocky necropolis of Pantalica is a prehistoric archaeological site and an Unesco world heritage but also a wonderful nature reserve.

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Free entrance every first Sunday of the month at regional sites

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