Exploring Sicily's Val di Noto
Food & Wine
Arts & Culture
Sicily is a special place because it is an island destination that offers not just an amazing coastline and beaches but rich history, ancient ruins, delicious cuisine, wine tasting and a fascinating mix of cultures. The Southeastern part of Sicily, known as the Val di Noto region, which includes the towns of Noto, Modica, Syracusa, Ortgia and Ragusa, is a perfect trip to enjoy all Sicily has to offer. With the amazing town of Noto as your base, you can enjoy all this region, both its towns and beaches.
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Where to stay in Sicily
Chic beachfront resort in Siracusa.
Seven Rooms Villadorata
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Dimora delle Balze
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Things to do in Sicily
Noto is known for its well-preserved Baroque architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Site, boutique shops and vibrant food scene. The Cathedral and the many town squares make it the perfect city to get lost in as you shop off its many stores and enjoy an aperol spritz at one of its many bars and restaurants. If you can plan your trip for May, don't miss the Infiorata di Noto when local artists arrange millions of art petals to create works of art that decorate a main street in town.
Ragusa is a hilltop city about an hour drive inland from Noto. Ragusa is divided into two parts: Ragusa Ibla, the historic center with winding streets and ancient ruins, and Ragusa Superiore, the more modern part of town with shops and restaurants. Like Noto, Ragusa Ibla is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is filled with historic sites and Baroque style architectures have credited the city to be a UNESCO World Heritage site. Must see stops include the Duomo di San Giorgio and Santa Maria delle Scale.
Another UNESCO World Heritage site, this is known for its delicious chocolate as well as its Baroque architecture. Walk up to the Cathedral of St. George and through the winding streets of this town, but take a break from the sight-seeing to take in a cup of Sicilian hot chocolate at one of Modica's chocolaterias.
Syracusa is a coastal city. Ortigia, the small island connected to Siracusa by bridges, is the historic heart of the city and is known for its Baroque architecture, charming streets and seaside promenade. Siracusa has a beautiful city center with an unforgettable duomo and an archaeological park with beautiful ruins from Greek and Roman times. This is the place to indulge in seafood as well as local Sicilian wines.
Take home the flavors of Sicily by taking a Sicilian cooking class in Modica with Katia @ Love Sicily.
Wine tasting in Val di Noto is a must-do activity for those interested in exploring the region's cultural heritage and tasting some of the finest wines produced in Italy. Visit Zisola for wine tasting.
Chocolate Making Class
A fun activity while in Modica is to tour a chocolate shop and take a chocolate making class. Not only do you learn about the unique chocolate made in Modica but you get to create your own chocolate creation which makes great souvenirs.
Take a break from all the sightseeing in this region and spend a day at a beach club or rent a boat out of Syracusa and explore the shoreline from the water.
Places to eat & drink in Sicily
Ristorante Manno Noto - Just off the main street in Noto, Ristorante Manno Noto offers a modern take on Sicilian classics. One of the best restaurants in the area with an friendly wait staff.
Crocifisso-Noto - Crosifisso is located in the heart of Noto's historic center on the Piazza del Municipio. The restaurant specializes in traditional Sicilian cuisine, with a focus on seafood and seasonal ingredients. The menu features a variety of dishes, including seafood pastas, grilled fish and meat dishes. Crosifisso is known for its high-quality food, attentive service and cozy atmosphere.
Cafe Sicilia - Cafe Sicilia is a historic cafe located in the heart of Noto's historic center. The cafe has been in business since 1892 and is known for its traditional Sicilian pastries, including the cannoli and gelato.
La Lisca Cuccina - Simple restaurant next to the fish market where the freshest seafood is used in traditional Sicilian fare.
Fratelli Burgio al Porto - The waterfront bar and a perfect place for an aperol spritz to take in the views or sunset.
Antica Dolceria Bonajuto - One of the oldest chocolate shops in Italy and worth the stop because the chocolate is truly memorable. Stop here for a cioccolata caldo (Italian hot chocolate made with Modica chocolate) and a freshly filled cannoli-one of the best in Sicily.
W Villadorata Country Restaurant - Located in a small, luxurious resort outside of Noto, this Michelin Star restaurant is worth the drive. The food is superb, the views are beautiful and the service is friendly and attentive.
Cavea Pizzeria-Ristorante - The setting of this restaurant inside a cave with candlelit tables is a memorable dining experience. The pizzas and pastas are tasty.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Sicily.