sicily

SICILY'S BAROQUE RING TOUR

The island, thanks to its strategic position in the Mediterranean, has always been land of conquests. Greeks, Romans, Byzantine, Arabs and Normans are just an example of the ancient civilizations that, by adding their unmistakable layers of traditions, architecture, culture made this island so special.

A cycle tour through the beauties of Sicily's baroque, to enjoy its rich culture, traditions… and great cycling

 

Sicily is the southernmost Italian region and the closest portion of Italy to north Africa. It's a unique region, known for its highs as well as for its lows. Exploring the island at the slow pace that cycling can grant is a must do. We'd say it can easily be a once-in-lifetime experience, but we are pretty sure that you'll be among the many repeaters. Sicily as a whole is so much special that people always struggle to decide which area exploring first. But as lovers of Sicily - and cycling lovers - we suggest an area that we consider special for us who love exploring new places on a road bike: it's the southeast portion of the island, that features not only a great insight of culture, food and architecture, but also the most varied and scenic road rides. We love to share with our guests amazing places, but our very known skill is to connect them via enchanting roads, discovered thanks to passion and commitment. We propose to you following a theme: connecting the most important towns where the stunning Sicilian baroque architecture (and we'd say lifestyle) knows its best expressions, creating a special ambience in which restaurants, bars and little shops are like notes of the same song. The island, thanks to its strategic position in the Mediterranean, has always been land of conquests. Greeks, Romans, Byzantine, Arabs and Normans are just an example of the ancient civilizations that, by adding their unmistakable layers of traditions, architecture, culture made this island so special. Some hints of what we'll see? Syracuse, Ortigia, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Scicli, Modica, Ragusa. But be sure that to enounce all the special places along this trip we would need a separate website. Can you really tell you know a place and its culture if you don't connect places to food or wine? For sure you can't in Italy. So why not connecting Modica and its special chocolate, Noto with the local ricotta or Avola with the amazing red wine Nero d'Avola? .

410 km
8 days
5,838 m
Enthusiast
Exploring Italy
The Journey Begins Here

TOUR stops AND TOPS

  • Noto: the capital of the Sicilian's Baroque

  • The hearth of Syracuse: Ortigia

  • Sicilian's countryside

Things You Don't Want to Miss

Ride Highlights:
Sicilian's Baroque

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.
Tour and Stopovers

TRIP DETAILS

  • SEPT 11 2021

  • OCT 16 2021

  • PRICE FROM €1499,00 // GUIDED TOUR

  • PRICE FROM €799,00 // SELF-GUIDED TOUR

  • SYRACUSE, SICILY, ITALY

  • SYRACUSE, SICILY, ITALY

  • 4 nights at 4-star; 2 nights at 3-star; 1 night at Agriturismo. 4 dinners; all breakfasts.

  • Individual arrival transfer from Catania airport to Syracuse € 60 p.p. (min 2 pax); individual departure transfer from Syracuse to Catania airport € 60 p.p. (min 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 250 p.p.; bike rental.

DAY 1: ARRIVAL DAY
Arrival at Catania airport, transfer (not included)to accommodation in Syracuse at a three-star hotel.
DAY 2: FROM SYRACUSE TO VIZZINI
70km | 1,285m | 734m | 3,30h
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.
DAY 3: FROM VIZZINI TO SCICLI
64km | 734m | 1,176m | 3,00h

A hilly stage of medium difficulty that begins with a series of panoramic switchbacks that take us cross a number of tiny villages hidden in the heart of Sicily, such as Monterosso Almo and Giarratana, but also across some of the most famous Baroque towns as Modica and Scicli.

Modica, in particular, is an UNESCO World Heritage site since 2002, due to its well preserved historical downtown. But it's also the perfect place to feed both body and soul with the local premium chocolate, produced, following the Aztec original recipe, using manual grinding (rather than conching), which gives the chocolate a peculiar grainy texture and aromatic flavor.

From this point, it takes only 10 km to another Baroque jewel built on a rock: Scicli, our destination. This lovely town is known for its several churches and squares and the elegant architecture.

But Scicli and its beauty are also very popular in Italy as they are the location of the police station (Commissariato) of Il Commissario Montalbano a popular television series broadcasted in many different Countries and based on the detective novels of Andrea Camilleri.

Overnight and dinner in Scicli at a four-star hotel.

DAY 4: SCICLI LOOP
85km | 1,061m | 1,061m | 4,30h

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.

DAY 5: FROM SCICLI TO PALAZZOLO ACREIDE
55km | 1,050m | 678m | 3,00h

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.

DAY 6: FROM PALAZZOLO ACREIDE TO NOTO
76km | 1,048m | 1,100m | 3,30h

From Palazzolo Acreide we'll start with a ring ride inside the park of Anapo valley to enjoy the amazing riding across wild inner Sicily and its little villages like Cassaro and Ferla. As soon as we'll be again close to Palazzolo Acreide, we'll ride towards the coastline to Noto, along a road that doesn't lack of switchbacks. Noto is considered the capital of Baroque in Sicily. It was destroyed by a devastating earthquake of 1693 and completely rebuilt. Thanks to its massive churches and public buildings, with stylish architectural details, it deserved to get in the list of the World Culture Heritage list of UNESCO. Noto, as so many places in the island is not only an open air museum, but also an area where local delicacies are made. And since we want to make a trip become an experience, don't only want to taste the local products, but also discover the way they make it.

You'll find very interesting discover how our friend Corrado produces the local ricotta in his small farm!

Overnight at a four-star hotel.

DAY 7:FROM NOTO TO SYRACUSE
60km | 661m | 739m | 3,00h

Last stage, but still full of great sights. From Noto we will ride up the Natural Park of Cavagrande del Cassibile, a huge nature reserve that surrounds the canyons formed by the Cassibile river, and then down through a winding descent to Avola, a noted town for the production of a wine you will drink quite often in Sicily: the red and robust Nero d'Avola. From there, we will ride along the coastline to Ortigia, heart of Syracuse, one of the most beautiful and famous towns of Sicily.

After an amazing week of rides, it's time to discover Syracuse, with its stunning Greek ruins, the Baroque buildings all around and its market that reminds us we're not too far from north Africa. Overnight at a three-star hotel.

DAY 8: FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY.

Transfer to Catania airport (not included) and end of services.

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

Travel arrangements

Best airport to land is Catania (CTA): from there we arrange the group transfer. Other options are possible and we can help selecting the best one.

Food & Drinks during stages

During the rides we plan at least one longer food stops in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistence van we use to bring along bars, gels and water.

Necessary Gear

Our guests are getting a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on all the the arrangements to enjoy our trips in full. Here a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.
  • We suggest renting a Canyon bike with us. But feel free to take your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts. 

  • The hotels has got a bike room and bike cleaning facilities.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers: there are mountains where the weather is never completely predictable.

Useful Information
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