Immersed in Baroque embroidered lace, in the heart of the Val di Noto
In the heart of the Val di Noto, in an area with a theatrical charm, the Baglio Occhipinti is born. Immersed in south-eastern Sicily, a territory that explodes with artistic testimonies in every corner, from Caltagirone to Noto, from Modica to Palazzo Acreide, up to Scicli, Catania and Ragusa, destinations easily reachable from Baglio Occhipinti.
A tour in the Val di Noto is an unmissable experience for anyone wishing to travel to discover cultural beauties, a landscape that tells its story through monuments, frescoes, cathedrals, perfumes, colors and taste. Traveling in Sicily means savoring each city, grasping its essence and carrying it within you throughout the journey to discover the wonderful landscapes of the sea and countryside. Living Baglio Occhipinti is also the opportunity to visit the fascinating places of this part of Sicily, a land of art, flavors and nature.
Immersed in the lush Iblea countryside, between the Ippari and Dirillo rivers, Vittoria is known for the quality of its land where vines are grown that generate great wines, among all Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Cerasuolo is a source of pride for the city, in fact it is the only wine to bear the DOCG brand. A city in which fascinating liberty architecture flourishes that alternate with baroque and neoclassical monuments creating a harmonious play of styles. Impossible not to mention the places of Vittoria present in the television series of “Il Commissario Montalbano”, starting from Piazza San Giovanni where you can stroll through the streets of the center reliving glimpses seen in the screenplay.
Ragusa appears elegant and refined, with its bright colors and warmer shades that herald a double soul: Ragusa Superiore, more modern, and Ragusa Ibla, older. A splendid open-air museum, a part collected in the valley and a part lying on the hill, made of historical works of art, narrow streets and alleys full of Baroque elements. Ragusa brings with it all the splendor of the past to show it in the present. Its double splendor is fascinating: Ragusa shows all its elegant baroque and modernity of shops and buildings at the top, while downstream, Ibla tells all about its medieval past made of majestic Baroque churches and small streets that conceal a timeless charm.
Like the other cities of south-eastern Sicily, Modica was destroyed by the 1963 earthquake, but had the strength to rise thanks to the Baroque period. A refined city that today enjoys popularity also thanks to the production of chocolate produced with a cold process that has allowed it to boast the prestigious IGP – Protected Geographical Indication brand, recognized by the European Union. In addition to this culinary delicacy, the city preserves artistic and architectural beauties of great importance, which has earned it its inclusion in the list of UNESCO protected assets as a World Heritage Site.The citizens of Scicli “is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. More than Piazza Armerina, more than Caltagirone, more Ragusa, more than Nicosia and more than Enna … perhaps it is the most beautiful of all the cities in the world. And people are happy in cities that are beautiful. ” With these words in 1941, the well-known writer Elio Vittorini described Scicli in his literary work “Conversations in Sicily”. Scicli is a charming baroque village nestled between the quarries of Santa Maria La Nova and San Bartolomeo, which hides palaces and churches of inestimable beauty in a small and intimate historic center, considered a Baroque jewel. Scicli is a stop not to be missed during a tour of the Sicilian southeast, for its completeness of attractions and beauties, ranging from the sea to the urban center, from the kitchen to the popular festivals rich in spirit and folklore.
The town of Noto is not far from Baglio Occhipinti. Noto is the capital of the Sicilian Baroque, a town fully steeped in art: it almost seems to be a theatrical setting, and for its beauty and cultural and artistic importance it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002. A place not to be missed during a holiday in south-eastern Sicily, which will amaze visitors with the charm of its monuments, historic buildings, streets and churches. A bright town capable of welcoming with its nineteenth-century triumphal arch, and then kindly invite you to continue along Corso Vittorio Emanuele until you reach the Cathedral of San Nicolò, with its original staircase famous all over the world. A Cathedral, icon of beauty, architecture and Baroque masterpiece recognized all over the world.
The city of a thousand times, Caltagirone stands on a hill 608 meters above sea level and is famous for its large production of ceramics, among the oldest in Italy. One of the stops not to be missed is undoubtedly the Regional Museum of Ceramics, a beautiful example of safekeeping and protection of the history of the material that has made Caltagirone famous all over the world. Among the most majestic ceramic works, there are the famous Teste di Moro, also called “graste”. These refined and precious works have adorned the balconies of Sicilian buildings and palaces for centuries, and are the daughters of a legend with a tragic-sentimental aftertaste. The Museum full of coloured majolica and unique pieces from the Renaissance period will captivate the visitor’s gaze to leave him spellbound.
Located in the green heart of the Iblei mountains, this small and charming village attracts for its uniqueness of the urban structure, imbued with the testimonies of different eras. Palazzolo Acreide hides the mysteries and stories of past civilizations, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy included in the list of World Heritage Sites, also defined as a pearl of the Sicilian Baroque. Palazzolo Acreide is the ideal destination for those who love trips out of town and those who want to visit an uncrowded place. Palazzolo Acreide is a hiker’s paradise, thanks to three archaeological and naturalistic itineraries. Guests will be able to visit the Akrai area, the Greek Theater, the Pantalica necropolis and the Museum Antonino Uccello.
Catania is far about an hour and a half by car from Baglio Occhipinti; it is a trip out of town ideal to discover the city that lives a close relationship with its volcano. The Etna mountain is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Catania shows all its vastness of monuments, historic buildings, baroque architecture that are intertwined walking through the historic centre. To visit the Cathedral with the adjacent main square, where the statue with the elephant symbol of the city stands, perhaps while tasting the pointy Catania style arancino. Culinary is a worthy tradition, in fact, Catania, like every corner of Sicily, has its typical dishes: granita, with all its versions, rotisserie, crepes, rice zeppole and horse meat. The city of Catania deserves to be explored by dedicating at least one full day to it.
Taormina is the custodian of a perfect blend of history, art, traditions and nature, certainly, among the most loved villages in Sicily by tourists from all over the world. At the north of Catania, this small town overlooks the Ionian Sea, and it is located on the natural terrace of Mount Tauro at about 200 meters above sea level. A beautiful land dominated by different peoples and cultures, such as the Greek and the Arab, and still French and Swabian, which have transformed Taormina into a cultural heritage of great importance. His Ancient Greek Theater is the clearest testimony a glorious past that comes out and shows itself in all its natural beauty. Spending a day in Taormina means enjoying a panoramic walk along the seafront to observe the fascinating Isola Bella. Taormina is a timeless place.
Located in the far east of Sicily, Siracusa is an evocative place that Cicero called “the most beautiful city in Magna Grecia”, and still bears the marks of its history as a cultural capital from the Greek age to the Renaissance and Baroque period. The city is a UNESCO heritage since 2005. Siracusa preserves a mixture of testimonies of its past: from the Greek to the Roman style, up to the Baroque. It is a union of styles that flows into an unmissable scenario rich in history. To visit the island of Ortigia, the Cathedral with a baroque facade that rises on the peristyle of the Doric temple of Athena, the temple of Apollo, a Doric sanctuary of the early sixth century BC. A process that is enriched by moving to the Neapolis district, full of remains of the Greek theatre, the Roman amphitheatre, the great altar of Gerone.
PHOTO: by flickr.com