Severely damaged in the devastating 1693 earthquake, Ragusa has been left quite literally a town of two halves. The Valle dei Ponti ravine separates Ragusa Ibla, the old town, and Ragusa Superiore, the more modern part of the city. However, surviving architecture from before the earthquake can still be found nestled deep within this town of jaw-dropping baroque wonders.
Dine at Duomo
Within this mysterious, imposing city, you’ll find the culinary gem that is Duomo. Named for the nearby Duomo di San Giorgio Cathedral, the restaurant boasts two Michelin stars and countless delicacies by superstar chef Ciccio Sultano.
Sultano is proud to hear such reviews, and his modern, deconstructionist spins on classic flavours undisputedly deserve these compliments. We recommend splurging on the tasting menu – otherwise you’ll be filled with chagrin on the way home for not trying just one more dish.
Dine at Locanda Don Serafino
Also in possession of two Michelin stars is Locanda Don Serafino. Their head chef, Vincenzo Candiano, was crowned best youth chef in southern Italy in 2007. He’s been on the up ever since, blending flavours from all over Sicily and even further afield in unique dishes that are sure to dazzle the taste buds of even the most well-travelled food connoisseur. And in case that’s not enough, the cellar is stocked with over 1,000 different wines.
Stay at La Dimora di Piazza Carmine
You’ll need somewhere to rest after exploring this entrancing town and sampling its culinary delights. Luckily, this simple three-star bed and breakfast offers a choice of nine rooms, all with en suite bathrooms, air conditioning and a minibar. It’s within walking distance of most major sights, and its comforting, modern furnishings act as a refreshing palate cleanser after the baroque stylings of the city.
The second of our baroque Sicilian marvels, Modica also suffered in the 1693 earthquake – and boasts wonderful seventeenth- and eighteenth-century architecture for this very reason. Though it’s not quite as eye-catching as Ragusa’s split visage, Modica more than makes up for this with its contemporary confidence.
Dine at Accursio Ristorante
For chef Accursio Craparo, food is far closer to art and passion than mere sustenance. His restaurant, located on the ground floor of an ornate palace on Modica’s main street, is a meeting place for different cultures and tastes. Eat one meal here, and you’ll be ready to follow Craparo to the edge of the island and beyond.
Stay at Palazzo Failla
For a stay in a family-owned baroque palazzo filled with luxury and comfort, there is no better accommodation than Palazzo Failla. Each room comes with a shower, robes, air conditioning and a minibar, and the hotel prides itself on offering an aristocratic experience reminiscent of a bygone era. It’s also home to the fabulous La Gazza Ladra restaurant – just in case any gastronomists haven’t quite had their fill.