Between nature and the Baroque of Ragusa

Between nature and the Baroque of Ragusa

Between nature and the Baroque of Ragusa

Modica, Scicli and Cava d’Ispica on a day in early March

Today is a gloomy day, one of those that invite you to stay under the covers, but we, Isolane, never stop, eager to show travelers the many enchanted places of our beloved Sicily! And so, we leave for a territory rich in culture, art, nature, and tradition: the wonderful places of the Ragusa Baroque.

Surrounded by the green countryside of Sampieri – a fraction of Scicli – our first stop is an old farmhouse from the second half of the 19th century: 6 stone-built houses, and a concrete swimming pool reminiscent of an ancient watering hole, blend beautifully with nature, where the ancient comes back to life in different forms and uses, to make the stay in this enchanted place welcoming and unique! To complete everything, a nursery filled with succulents of different species and sizes, where, among other things, various workshops are organized. It really seems like we are going back in time, reliving some moments of a life lived by the family that welcomes us.

After a walk in the nursery in the company of the owner, we take our leave to begin the tour of the property and head toward a venue located a few km away: here is a riot of colors, perfumes, passion, vitality, energy, and friendliness that thoroughly represent Sicily! Enrico welcomes us, together with his adorable and inseparable “canuzzi” who, despite having several hectares to play in and run about together, decide to take the tour of the company with us. Enrico, in a “stridusu” way (joyful and friendly) typical of Sicilians, tells us of the passion that twenty years ago led him and the family to create this corner of paradise with aromatic plants from the most varied species, fruit trees, and intoxicating flowers. A passion that still induces him not to stop and to put up, day after day, new ideas and projects, so much so that recently he has created a natural stone amphitheater from which you can watch a breathtaking sunset, lulled by the melodious sound of a sax while admiring the nearby sea: on one side Marina di Ragusa, on the other Malta visible on clear days. In the olfactory path that is offered to us, we experience an indescribable sensation by smelling different plants cultivated with care and passion: from the geranium with multiple variations (to the aroma of lemongrass, mint, orange, dog rose and others) to marjoram, thyme, wild rosemary, passion fruit. A 5 senses journey! But certain sensations cannot be told, you have to try them in person to understand what we are talking about. And Enrico is waiting for you with open arms!

The last stop of the day includes a visit to an ancient farmhouse, located in the Sciclitana countryside at the end of a long avenue framed by green and flowery meadows. Once we have crossed the entrance door, which is intense yellow like the sun – a Sicilian yellow, the owner reveals – we find ourselves in an internal courtyard enclosed between dry stone walls of Modica. Here Valentina, who moved to Sicily for a few years to change her life, has created a corner of peace and serenity, with attention to the smallest details, where you can stay and feel right at home: mini-apartments furnished with care and precision, with warm colors and with antique furnishings and majolica from our beloved Sicily, many comforts and small attentions dedicated to guests. For those who do not want to give up on their fitness, there is also a fully-equipped mini gym.

After a pleasant chat, comfortably seated in the living room at home sipping a good coffee and tea, we greet each other affectionately as if we have known each other for a lifetime. For a moment we really felt at home! But now it’s time to get some rest, new experiences await us tomorrow!

It is Sunday morning and, although the awakening is a bit traumatic, we get up early to reach a farm not far from Modica. Here we are welcomed with a good coffee and many delicacies: delicious biscuits and an exquisite homemade ricotta cake, all made with Modican authenticity! Although the main activity of the company is the production of cheeses (caciocavallo, salted ricotta, provolette), of which the owner is proud because the cows are fed with their fodder, another source of wealth is salami, pasta and baked goods of undisputed authenticity. In short, an all-round company that gives us the true Sicilian flavors from the earth to the table! Here, too, you can put your hands in the dough and try to make your own ricotta. No sooner said than done!

After delighting our palate by tasting some products, we say goodbye to go to Modica, with its baroque architecture characterized by the typical yellow stone, with its churches that stand imposing between wonderful buildings and small houses: in front of our eyes it stands out a real nativity scene! And since we do not miss a thing, once we reach the top we continue on foot through the alleys of Modica, accessible only to pedestrians. We visit the diffused hotel of a gentleman called Marco and, taking advantage of his hospitality, we are able to admire from above one of the most spectacular views of the city while comfortably sitting on the terrace sipping a coffee. A photographic shot that remains etched in the mind: imagine having breakfast on the terrace on a sunny spring day and in front of you the Cathedral of San Giorgio, with its breathtaking staircase. Spectacular! Taking a tour through the streets, and some souvenir photos, we continue driving towards our last destination.

Our weekend ends, in fact, with a visit to an enchanted refuge located in the Cava d’Ispica, far from city traffic and totally disconnected from the world: no Wifi. Here, we rediscover the beauty of nature, where time stands still, where the luxuriant vegetation climbs up high yellow rock ridges that hide ancient caves inhabited until 1952. Here, where everything is possible: from a walk in the woods to the impromptu climb of some wayfarers, the sudden encounter with a white horse who comes to meet us galloping with elegance. And as always, even now we are fascinated by the immensity of this place, by the silence, the colors, the scents, the welcome of the people. We practically met up for lunch with a group of friends who welcomed us as if they had always known us, making us feel an integral part and thus giving even more value to what we propose to do for our travelers: they made us savor the wonders of these places, told anecdotes and stories unknown to us, offered the hospitality that everyone would like to receive in a foreign land.

We are truly grateful for the wonderful people we met on this Sicilian tour, people who leave indelible memories and emotions that can only be understood by living them! With so much joy in the heart and full of new encounters, we return home waiting for new adventures.

We are ready for a new experience …. and you?

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