THE CHARM OF THE ANCIENT HISTORIC CENTRES, THE SICILIAN BAROQUE OF RAGUSA IBLA, MODICA, SCICLI, PALAZZOLO ACREIDE, ORTIGIA
Cosy and discreet, even in its majestic beauty is what late-baroque Sicily looks like. The land of “the stone gardens”, like the towns of Noto’s valley, Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Scicli, Ispica, Palazzolo Acreide, Noto, is where Home Sud Home invites you to find a home.
Centres clinging to slopes and hills, cities made of stone and light, where the bright tone of the houses changes into amber at sunset, are such beautiful qualities appreciated by UNESCO that have gone under its protection, as a world human heritage. If viewed from a distance, churches, palaces, flights of steps, roads and squares of these historic centres seem to be precious ivory laces, which embroider a unique scenography in the turquoise sky.
By taking a close look and walking staring at the sky, it is really surprising to discover that artisans and architects have chosen this land to prove their skills and fantasy, not only to rebuild the destroyed city centres, but also to shape the local stone – soft and compact – according to the taste of the late 18th century.
The monuments of Noto, which express the baroque art in all its splendour, are a great example. The city was built along the main axis, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, a road that leads to ‘Piazza Municipio’, a lively town centre. By taking a walk, perhaps enjoying a refreshing mulberry “granita“ icecream, it is possible to see lots of churches and palaces, built on imposing steps, that remain one of the highest representations of the 18th century. Like the church of San Francesco, the church of San Domenico, the monastery of San Salvatore, the convent and the church of Santa Chiara, with its oval inside, and its majestic cathedral with its soaring bell towers, which divides the square together with the town hall.
The artists and artisans of the 18th century left their invaluable traces in Modica, too, which is surely to admire and take the chance to taste its world famous chocolate of ancient Aztec origins. The statues of the apostles and saints are here to guard the 100 churches. Above all, the churches of San Giorgio and San Pietro are some of the most successful examples of baroque. The balconies of the palaces and houses are supported by allegoric masks, that seem to make fun of the visitors.
Also dedicated to San Giorgio is the cathedral of Ragusa Ibla. It is the most beautiful monument in the centre of Ibla, with its convex bell tower and spectacular façade, lightly skewed compared to the square. The baroque is the unifying characteristic of the two cities. Even if buildings of a certain value are not missing in the new part of the city, it is in Ibla that the architectural centre of gravity is placed. The main road is surrounded by noble houses, churches, palaces, portals and astonishing gardens.
The church of San Paolo in Palazzolo Acreide and the Church of San Matteo in Scicli, which seem to come out of the rocks are worth a visit, too. The balconies of the houses, with their rounded railings, lean on consoles depicting animals that exist only in the fantasy of a sly and passionate nation which looks at life and history with incomparable irony…
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Sea and beaches
One wonders how the wind manages to make them so alike and so different: the dunes. Long sand expanses stand between the deep blue of the sea and the rich green of the countryside…
The generous countryside
of the south-east
The deep green of the grasslands, the bright yellow of the wheat fields, the candid white of the dry stone walls in the countryside of south-east Sicily are all within the contrast of these colours…