A small list of suggestions on what to see, eat, do.
What to do
Excursion to the natural reserve of Cavagrande del Cassibile
The natural reserve of Cavagrande del Cassibile borders the municipalities of Avola, Noto and Siracusa, and lies in the province of Siracusa in Sicily. It was established in 1990 (by decree on the 13th of July), and is managed by the Forest Parks Service of the Sicilian Region; though in recent developments it is envisaged to become part of the Hyblaean Mountains National Park.
The beach of Gallina
The beach of Gallina is situated in the municipality of Avola, and is accessible by a 5km coastal road, which borders the Natural Riserve of Cavagrande del Cassibile. The water is crystalline, with a shallow, sandy seabed. The beach is public, thus some amenities may not be available.
The cave dwellings of Bauli’
The phenomenon of cave dwelling is a typical aspect of the Hyblaean territory, in as much the particular geomorphology of these rocks allowed for them to be excavated. The entire plateau is covered in soft sedimentary rock, which humans have learned to mine since ancient times, when these caves were used as necropolises, such as in Pantalica, Cava Grande, Castelluccio, etc.
The Infiorata di Noto in Sicily
The Infiorata di Noto, one of the most colourful festivals anywhere in the world, takes place every year over the third weekend of May. For two and a half days, Via Nicolaci, one of Noto’s many delightful streets, is taken over by local and foreign artists who work together on a set theme to create a kaleidoscopic carpet of petal mosaics using flowers grown especially for the event. They set up shop and begin work on their allotted pieces of pavement on Friday and the “exhibition” is open to allcomers on Saturday and Sunday. A variety of other activities, including parades and sideshows, add to the general carnival atmosphere and the delightful, ingenious Baroque palazzi and churches of Noto provide a perfect backdrop. Monday morning is the day of the town’s children, who are let loose to run through the temporary artworks in a symbolic display of destruction and renewal. Part celebration of Spring, part homage to Noto’s virtuosic artistic heritage, the festival provides an excellent excuse for a mid-May getaway.
Palazzo Nicolaci of Villadorata
The striking facade of this 18th-century palace features wrought-iron balconies supported by a swirling pantomime of grotesque figures. Inside, the richly brocaded walls and frescoed ceilings offer an idea of the sumptuous lifestyle of Sicilian nobles, as brought to life in the Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard).
The natural reserve “Wildlife Oasis of Vendicari”
The natural reserve “Wildlife Oasis of Vendicari” was established in 1984 by the Sicilian Region. It’s located precisely halfway between Noto and Pachino (province of Syracuse) with a territory that extends for about 1512 hectares.
Inside the reserve, an entire ecosystem lives undisturbed. You will find yourself frequently in front of breath-taking landscapes, dense vegetation that suddenly opens to a clear sea, very long and golden beaches, that in a few hundred meters become rocky cliffs and then deep sea. From the observation cabins, you can admire Flamingos, Herons, and Storks that hang here before reaching the definitive migratory destinations.
Chocolate of Modica
The Cioccolato di Modica (“Chocolate of Modica”, also known as cioccolata modicana) is an Italian P.A.T. specialty chocolate,typical of the municipality of Modica in Sicily, characterized by an ancient and original recipe that gives the chocolate a peculiar grainy texture and aromatic flavor. The specialty, inspired by the Aztec original recipe for Xocoatl, was introduced in the County of Modica by the Spaniards, during their domination in the southern Italy.
Since 2009 a festival named “Chocobarocco” is held every year in the city.
Under the name “Almond of Avola” refers only three cultures: Pizzuta, Fascionello, Roman or Almond Avola
Originating in the Avola, Syracuse area, are the most valuable cultivars of almonds on international markets.
The epoch of early flowering in fact in the middle of winter, as early as December or in early January, allows these cultivars to proliferate only in marine areas and low hills, where they are very rare late frost. For these reasons its area of production is restricted to the provinces of Siracusa and Ragusa, the sunniest parts of Italy.
It has a thin, hard shell, from small pores. Its seed has the shape of a flat ellipse, the red color leather. It is the elected almond confectionery, high quality pastries.
While not as elegant Pizzuta, also the variety Fascionello, is widely used for the same delicate fragrance industry confectionery and pastry.
Roman or Almond Avola
The seed of the Roman Avola or current is triangular, irregular shape with a very high twins. It is used exclusively in the pastry.
‘Mpanatigghi are breaded half-moon shaped biscuits, stuffed with a mixture of almonds, walnuts, chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and beef. The recipe to this specialty pastry from the town of Modica, known in dialect as ‘mpanatiggi, was handed down from one generation to another, and is today also known as ‘impanatiglie,’ or ‘dolce di carne’ (meat-filled sweet pastries).