Sicily's Ancient Landscapes & Timeless Traditions

Day 10 - September 29, 2015 - Old Town Ragusa; Duomo di San Giorgio; Journey to and Explore Modica

After our breakfast we met Grazielle at 9:15, our local guide and set off to walk to the Lower Town of Ragusa Ibla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Grazielle told us the tragic history of the earthquake of 1693 that destroyed the town and killed over 10,000 people.

We stopped at several amazing overlooks as we walked down the marble and limestone stairs, once a neighborhood of exclusive palaces. The city below was built on a promontory for defense and was rebuilt after the earthquake.

There are no longer tall multi-story buildings, two or three stories at the max. Also there were no bell towers on the churches, the bells were built into the structures themselves.

We made frequent stops on the overlooks to see panoramic views. After WWII, many homes in the Old Town were abandoned because there were no roads or modern utilities.

Palaces could be bought “for a bowl of pasta” or in our vocabulary, “for a song”. After the designation as a UNESCO site, prices soared. After 333 steps we were down into the Old City.

Grazielle gave us an abundance of information about the architecture that was helpful in understanding the Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical styles. We visited the Cathedral of Saint George and were given a very thorough tour of the church.

Before entering, Grazielle reminded us “The Lord calls you in many ways, but never on your mobile. Turn off your cell phones!” She went into detail about the symbolism of the statues and paintings as those were done in medieval times when most could not read so people relied on the visual teachings.

We had free time to walk around and Maurizio bought us a gelato from Gelati DiVini, a shop on Duomo Piazza that featured wine-flavored ice creams. We shared a sandwich in Ibla, and then Maurizio gave us tickets for the local bus.

Catching the 2:00 bus that came at 2:15, we arrived back at the hotel for time on our own until 5:00. Vic’s GPS told us we had traveled 4.2 miles, a good day for walking!

When the six classic Fiat 500 cars from the early 60’s and 70’s came to pick us up, we knew we were in for a treat. Flying Italian and American car flags, the Modican Auto and Moto Club drivers were dressed in their white, green and red colors.

There were two or three of us per car. Our drivers made sure we understood the precision handling of these old Fiats. Racing down and around the curves on the narrow mountain roads, the ride was almost like a roller coaster.

Our driver, Barone, was the president of the club and we led the parade for about a 45-minute drive to Modica. In and out of streets as narrow as a slender sidewalk, we honked and waved at those we met. Most waved, all smiled, and some stopped and took photos of us.

We made several stops for more photos and finally reached the old town of Modica where we visited two churches and then a chocolate factory for an explanation of their famous sugar cacao mixture.

Thanking our driver, we will not soon forget our Fiat Fantasy of road racing in Sicily. Vic made several videos of our escapade, but it will take a few days of concentrated editing to get it to GarciaTrips. Check back to Day 10 in a few days for more highlights of our Fiat Adventure.

Dinner was at ‘Nte Muriana, a genuine Sicilian Family restaurant. We met the whole family and had a wonderful evening. Pepé picked us up with the big bus for the drive back to Ragusa.

It was 9:45 by the time we arrived at the hotel and with miles to go before we could sleep. Deciding on just five photos was a difficult task. Maurizio had given us another full day – perfecto!

Accommodations: De Stefano Palace - - - Meal: B & D

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Sicily's Ancient Landscapes & Timeless Traditions


WOW - that ride - what a hoot!!! Y'all make life interesting to so many people along your travels. You made an impression on us for sure. Gennie is looking younger and younger and so full of life -- how do y'all do it? Keep smiling and be kind to each other.

Pat   October 5, 2015 - 4:01pm

Steve would love the Fiat Fantasy!!

Annmarie Gavin   September 30, 2015 - 10:03am
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Ragusa to Modica - Vintage FIAT 500s

Ragusa to Modica - Vintage FIAT 500s (1:31)

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Lower Town of Ragusa Ibla

Lower Town of Ragusa Ibla

Palatial Balcony

Palatial Balcony

Gelati DiVini

Gelati DiVini

Fleet of Vintage Fiat 500s

Fleet of Vintage Fiat 500s

OAT Group & Fiat Drivers in Modica

OAT Group & Fiat Drivers in Modica

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Day 2: Goat Cave Karst Nature Preserve

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