The Sicilian Baroque style of architecture was introduced following the devastating earthquake of 1693. Whole cities had to be rebuilt. Splendid churches and palaces were erected in what has been termed the Sicilian Baroque style. The churches were often lavishly decorated with coloured marble and mosaic inlay.
“The loveliest region of Italy: a stunning orgy of colors, scents, and lights…a great delight."
Total distance: 410 kmkm
total elevation: 5,838 mm
Duration: 8 days
difficulty level: Enthusiast
Arrival at Catania airport, transfer (not included)to accommodation in Syracuse at a three-star hotel.
This stage features a series of up-and-downs from the very beginning and mostly medium-length climbs. Just left Syracuse, we'll face the hardest climb of the day: 8 km with a 6% average incline up to the town of Sortino. From there, we'll ride again on short up-and-down all inside the wild and unspoilt nature of the Anapo valley, on incredibly quiet roads and good asphalt, till we get to Buccheri. That's a good place for a stop. From Buccheri, our journey continues towards Vizzini, riding through a hilly and winding road with - all around - prairie, cultivated fields and pastures. Vizzini - at about 600m ASL in the Sicilian inland, is one of the oldest city in Sicily, with first settlement dating from bronze age. But the Arab influence during the middle age has left a fascinating layout in the buildings of the old town, like in the wonderful Mother Church, dedicated to San Gregorio Magno. We'll have plenty of time to discover this lovely town. Accomodation and dinner at an Agriturismo.
Scicli is so much an iconic Baroque town that we find a shame not to take another night in there and enjoying a loop that connects either the inland areas and the ancient fishing towns along the southeastern coast. So, left our base in Scicli, we'll ride along the coastline across small fishing villages as Donnalucata, Marina di Ragusa and Punta Secca. We ride inland again up to Donnafugata castle. With its white façade and Venetian Gothic loggia, this is one of the most fascinating buildings of Sicily. From there we'll continue towards one of the most important towns in Sicily: Ragusa. It's a quite big town with about 70 thousand inhabitants and together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it's part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The list of the main sights in Ragusa is so long that it would deserve a separated web page to name them all. Some examples? The Cathedral of Ragusa and the church of Santa Maria delle Scale. We ride back to Scicli going again through Modica. For sure it's worth grabbing some more chocolate! Accommodation and dinner at a four-star hotel.
We'll ride again along the quiet and lazy Sicilian countryside, enjoying the ever present up and downs amid the typical Sicilian dry-stone walls. We first reach Giarratana, a tiny village famous in particular for the production of a particular variety of onion. Then we ride again across the lonely countryside: a very panoramic road in the wild Sicily among pastures, cultivations and prairies up to our destination: Palazzolo Acreide, a charming town listed in the UNESCO World Heritage, combining opulent Baroque architecture, several archaeological ruins and a sophisticated gastronomic scene that belies its small-town stature. Overnight and dinner at a four-star hotel.
Transfer to Catania airport (not included) and end of services.