We made out way across the agricultural countryside toward the distinct two sides of Ragusa. Ragusa Superiore, a real working town, relatively modern with grid patterned streets, as opposed to Ragusa Ilba, a UNESCO protected, historic city center (above). As you can see, the Ilba district is above a hill (set there originally for its own protection), only reachable by a multiple switchback road.

St. George sets the theme, reflected on the ancient city gate and in the impressive Duomo.

Our visit to this massive structure, reached by a long, steep set of steps ends with an attack by a large visiting school group of teens. I really don’t know why they singled me out, but they were as charming as can be trying out a bunch of their memorized English phrases, and begging me to respond. One young, maybe 14 year old, kept telling me he loved me, and paper and pens were out for autographs. They were interrupted, thankfully, by a fairly stern teacher, and we were all on our way with high fives and peace signs.

We stopped, of course, for some good eats before our continuing trek toward the beautifully baroque town of Noto.

Another UNESCO protected town, welcoming with gorgeous floral walkways leading to the original gateway to the city.

The wonderful baroque architecture was apparently used as settings for the Sicilian series, Detective Montalbano. I haven’t read or seen them, but I think I know who probably has and hope she will put in her two cents here, hmmm?

We ended the day tired and not too hungry, so we ventured out of the hotel looking for a simple pasta place to weight us down for bed. The concierge recommended a small place just a couple of blocks away, that we could not find. So we walked another block and saw this really beautiful looking bistro that seemed to be a combo of Italian and French. We were afraid it would be too much, but the menu was so reasonably priced (and mouthwatering) that we were charmed to stay by a very charming waitress who explained the English version of the menu and the specials.

Marsha had the red chard pie with smoked scamorza and parmesan fondue…and that was enough with an amazing local white wine. I started with the carob honey marinated beef tartare with two Dijon mustards and bee pollen. Then I had the special of fresh grouper in home made giant tube pasta with a delicate red sauce. We went to bed very happy, and ready to explore our final stop, Siracusa (Syracuse) tomorrow. It’s really going too fast.

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  1. Carol says:

    Love the Montalbano mysteries, having first seen and bought them in our neighborhood bookstore when we lived in Paris! I remember the stir around the publication of the first book in France and Italy because – although written in Italian – Camillieri included expressions and phrases of dialogue in Sicilian. Quite a scandalous move according to language purists… We’ve also watched a few of the TV series on MHz Choice. Thanks for the great pics! They sent me scurrying to find the books I still have.

  2. Food looks delicious Keep enjoying

  3. Alexandra says:

    Hmmmm, that detective …. created by Andrea Camilleri always has interesting cases and Camilleri provides a wonderful virtual visit to Italy to experience the food and customs. A must read. Your blog does much the same, but without the mayhem and corruption that Montalbano encounters. Thank you.

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