The land of Dolce. The land of Gabbana. The land of carb over-indulgence and wine over-flow. If you’re thinking that sounds like a fun place to be, I’d say you sound like my kind of person.
Picture quaint streets outlined in Baroque architecture. Picture piazzas crowded with charming restaurants and enticing wine bars. If you’ve also included a grand cathedral, what you’re seeing are the towns of Ragusa and Noto.
As you begin walking into Ibla—Ragusa’s old town—no image can prepare you for what appears in front of your eyes. A picturesque town unfolds the nearer you venture. After numerous stairs down followed by a climb up, you definitely deserve a refreshing glass of wine. Après drink, explore the gardens. And then reward yourself (again) with an Aperol spritz.
Restaurants: Quatro Gatti, Il Duomo (2 Michelin stars)
Hotel: Relais Antica Badia
Every time we arrived in the next city, it was better than the last.
The only thing more pleasant than Noto’s lovely streets is its buoyant atmosphere. As Ragusa is much quieter, it felt good to be surrounded by people while searching for gelato. Walking through Noto’s main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, allows for views of the city’s best as well as many options for food and drink.
Restaurants: Il Libertyno (lunch), Crosifisso (a must—one of our favorite dinners in Sicily!)
Hotel: Seven Rooms Villadorata
Ragusa and Noto are small towns, so Siracusa was the first real city we arrived in. And…WOWZA. Come for the architectural beauty, stay for the lively ambience. Everything seems to be staged flawlessly in place—down to the colorful flowers that cover every surface. Siracusa is also located on the water, which only adds to its dreamlike aesthetic. Enjoy breakfast with a view, lunch with a view, dinner with a view, dessert with a view, and drinks with…you guessed it, a view.
Restaurants: Basiricò, Sicilia in Tavola, Trattoria O 'Scinà
Hotels: Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel, Des Etrangers Hotel & SPA, Grand Hotel Ortigia
Taormina is heaven on earth. It’s easy to throw adjectives like mesmerizing at it, but it’s difficult to truly describe its blissfulness. With all the greenery around town, it feels like a garden grew in the sky and you’re walking under it—kind of like what I imagine the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to be like. And though Taormina isn’t an ancient wonder of the world like those gardens are, it’s a wonder how a town could be so picture-perfect. Combined with luxurious properties, designer stores, and happening restaurants, this is a place I can’t wait to come back to.
Restaurants: Babilonia, Osteria Nero D’Avola, Maffei’s, Viccolo Stretto, Andreas, Roberto (dessert, and the best cannoli)
Drinks: Bam Bar, Ape Nera, Vineria Modì, Red & White, Malvasia, Morgana (clubby)
Hotels: Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, Belmond Villa Sant'Andrea, The Ashbee, Hotel Metropole