Travels in Sicily- Noto, Modica

Saturday, we left town with only one small detour, amen. Stopped to buy gas, couldn’t get the card accepted, but couldn’t get the €20 back when we tried cash unsuccessfully. Decided to let it go. Saw pomegranate and lemon orchards.

Off to Noto, to try the best gelato, at La Sicilia. And it was good, very good. Larry had tomato sorbet, a little volcano of red, with a white onion sorbet core. Light and refreshing. They were out of the goat ricotta gelato with apricot, so I settled for Montezuma chocolate (cinnamon, orange & lemon zests, and saffron gelato, also with citrus bits. VERY. GOOD. In addition to gelato and sorbets, La Sicilia is known for innovative pastries and candies, and the owner is trying to revive the cultivation of a very local, unique almond. Catch the  Netflix special on this man. 

Most people go to Noto for the Baroque architecture, massive churches and palazzos of golden sandstone, laid out in a grand plan following the 1623 earthquake.that destroyed so many buildings in the area. Churches as a form of insurance? 

Hebrew readers, what’s being said here, behind this Catholic church altar?

On to Modica, via the back road’s back road. Low stone walls line the narrow two lanes, it could be Ireland if the sun weren’t so intense, and there weren’t cacti and palm trees. Orchards olive, lemon, carob, goat-cropped grass, plastic-covered green houses waiting for something, stone buildings waiting to fall down. “Si vende” signs everywhere.

Arrived in Modica, a town reminiscent of Guanajuato, Mexico, only steeper on both sides of the valley, and monochromatic. Narrow one-way streets and tiny “Vicos” and stairways mean one should just park and walk. We have a large room at Palazzo Beau on tiny Vico Giusto, with a view across to the other side of the valley. 

The passegiatta in Modica really gets going around 8 pm, when it’s finally cool enough. Swarms of people fill the street: packs of laughing  gesticulating tweens, families with small children, older couples and friends, determined twenty-year olds, the scooter club, the bike club, parents and community members who’ve come to watch the gymnastics class performance in the piazza! Twenty-some children, from four to fifteen years old, energetic and appreciated by all. Where would you see that in the US? The circus? County fair? It’s not the same- these folks see each other every day, it is how the social fabric is sewn more securely. How long will this last, with the tentacular effect of cell phones?