We decided to spend a week by the Sea but, remaining to laze on the Beach has never been the dream of our lives, so we started looking for a home that would allow us to easily reach the most interesting sites for beautiful excursions in search of natural and architectural beauties. We chose the Province of Ragusa, intrigued by the set of the TV Fiction dedicated to the adventures of Inspector Montalbano. Then scrolling through the pages of major Tourist Websites, we found a vacation home a few miles of Punta Secca in a quiet place and just a few steps from the sea :Casa Giovanna the recently renovated house is cozy and at a reasonable price.
Once having taken possession of the house and enjoyed the large and beautiful beach we decided that in the next few days we would go to discover the places of Inspector Montalbano. We already started in the afternoon from Marinella (Punta Secca) which is just over three miles, Punta Secca where you will find the famous beach house right on the water where Montalbano use to swim.
Scicli is definitely a must. Here you can see the Police Station of Vigata (Palace Hall) located in the central Via Francesco Mormino Penna in which we saw the car of the Inspector speeding along dozens of times.
Scicli, like the entire Val di Noto Area, was destroyed by the Earthquake of 1693. But from this tragic event the Sicilian Baroque was born. Here we find important Baroque evidences, Palazzo Benevento, defined as the most beautiful baroque palace by Sir Anthony Blunt. But the entire area was declared an Unesco Site. To be visited too are the nearby Piazza Italia and Piazza Busacca with many fine buildings built between the 18th and 20th Century, like Palazzo Iacono, the set of the Police Montelusa, Palazzo Penna and many religious buildings like the Church of St. Matthew, the Symbol of the city rebuilt on the hill and the present Church of St. William, or the magnificent churches of St. John the Evangelist and St. Therese.
During our Tour we could not miss a stop at the bar for a nice almond Granita before going to the nearby beach of Sampieri. We moved from the bakery where we bought our lunch, the typical “vota vota” a very thin pizza, stuffed and rolled up on itself and “impanate”.
The beach of Sampieri runs along a beautiful pine forest where we stopped to eat and rest a bit before taking a dip in the sea. Form the beach in the distance we can see the outline of the “Manyara” (the furnace Penna) that reads several episodes of our favourite TV Fiction .
Although we visited it recently, we couldn’t let the opportunity for a new visit to the nearby Ragusa, only 30 km from us. We arrived to Ragusa entering from the top, and headed to the historic center of Ragusa Ibla along Corso Italia to the Church of Santa Maria delle Scale from which starts the stairway that leads to the town center. Once in Ibla we left the car and reached the center, the setting for the exterior of the center of Vigata. Walking through the baroque buildings of the Historic Center, we recognize the central square of “Vigata” with the Cathedral of St. George and, in the same square the Club attended by Doc. Pasquano, the Conversation Club (http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circolo_di_conversazione). As we wanted to stop for lunch, we were spoiled for the wide choice in the center. We recognized in the Corso XXV April, La Trattoria Rusticana, the famous “Trattoria da Calogero” Montalbano’s favoured place in the fiction. But if you do not want to sit here, you can also pick up something on the go in a bar or in one of the bakeries.
Before leaving, we took information about the the visiting hours for the Castle of Donnafugata :
Monday: closing day
Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday: from 9.00 to 13.00 and from 14.45 to 17.30
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: from 9.00 to 13.00
but after a quick glance at the clock and a quick consultation we decided that it’s too late and we scheduled it for another day. So we opted for a visit of Marina di Ragusa, a small village characterized by a long beach promenade where Ragusans love spending summer evenings.
When we arrived the sun was still high so we did not lose the opportunity to take a swim in the afternoon, before joining the rub that begins at sunset to continue until late night.
The days are passing quickly between the beach and the rest but we had left off a visit to the Castle Donnafugata, the house of Don Balduccio Sinagra in the fiction. So we left early for our visit. Once arrived we took the ticket that allowed us to visit the newly renovated castle and the park. In the halls of the castle there is a quaintless atmosphere, thanks to the wealth and the good condition of the original Decor of the rooms. Even in the park are still preserved some corners, created to brighten the days of the guests as the labyrinth “Pirdituri”.
We started our trip on the trail of our Commissioner, but here, as in Scicli and Ragusa, we found a treasure full of surprises of a Sicily that never ceases to amaze.