Many of the towns in this part of Sicily are UNESCO World Heritage Sites so our expectations were high for what we might find. We started in Noto, which is even described as a “stage set.” If you have never seen the film “Cinema Paradiso” you should. It’s set in Sicily and filmed here and is one of the sweetest films ever. So perhaps I was looking for that when we arrived in Noto.
We are staying at a Villa/Hotel a little out of town so had the added adventure of driving into the historic part of town and finding a parking place. We had great instructions from our hotel and managed fine except for a few bumps and scrapes to the car (we bought full coverage so we aren’t worried). We just love to buy insurance!
The heart of the town is a pedestrian only area and strangely we did not see many locals nor many tourists but the focus was on tourists- souvenir and gelato shops abounded. You will see the Baroque architecture in the pictures but we were not terribly excited about the town all together. Next day we traveled south to the much smaller town of Marzamemi, which apparently is a popular summer resort. It’s mostly deserted this time of year but we walked around the small center of the town and really felt as though it was a stage set. There is some Arab influence here, no surprise since at this point we are fairly close to North Africa. Tuna fishing is the biggest industry here and has been since ancient times.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that we don’t see any Italians because we manage to come in the middle of the day when they are in siesta (everything closes down 12-4 and then reopens until 7 pm). We’ll see what happens next stop where we are staying right in town.
Even our hotel (former villa) is a bit of a stage set. I expect the actors from Cinema Paradiso to walk down the stairs at any moment. Tomorrow we move on to Modica, another UNESCO World Heritage site so more on that later.