The surroundings

Val di Noto: an area rich in history, art and nature

The thousand faces of the Noto Valley.

Among the Italian UNESCO heritage sites since 2002, the Noto Valley is famous for its beautiful late-Baroque cities, including Ragusa.

Among others, Modica and Scicli can be reached in just 15-20 minutes by car from our Relais: Modica, also famous for its Aztec chocolate, has two urban centres as Ragusa, the old one perched on a hill of the Iblei Mountains and the new one built downstream. The Cathedral of San Giorgio, an impressive example of Sicilian Baroque, the Church of San Pietro and Palazzo Grimaldi are certainly sights to be visited.

With its ancient origins, Scicli not only features Baroque buildings and churches, but also a coastline with crystal clear waters just 9 km away from the centre. Also here you will find some locations of the TV series Il Commissario Montalbano including the Municipal Palace (which on TV houses the police station) or via Francesco Mormina Penna.

If your holiday in Sicily involves a longer stay, the other pearls of the Noto Valley are also unmissable: Palazzolo, Noto and, a little further away, Militello in the Catania Valley, Caltagirone and Catania, will enchant you with their late Baroque architecture and sumptuous noble palaces.

But the Noto Valley also has unspoiled nature, the sea, golden beaches and wonderful sunsets.

In Punta Secca, for example, you can discover the House of Montalbano while the coastline between Ragusa and Syracuse is ideal for families thanks to its shallow and clear waters with sandy bottoms mixed with rocks.
For hiking enthusiasts, you should definitely explore the Irminio River Reserve, which is located between Donnalucata and Marina di Ragusa, or the hills surrounding Scicli, which are rich in forests and caves. Another interesting area is the Mangiagesso Park, a protected area located between Scicli and Modica.

About 15 km from Ragusa there is the Donnafugata Castle, a majestic 19th-century house that has over 200 rooms (not all of which are currently open to visitors) and a beautiful park with exotic plants, statues, fountains and even a stone labyrinth.