A self drive trip through Sicily is a Winerist’s dream. The rich nature of this island, its volcanic soil, stunning views of the coast in Taormina and pistachio ice cream are just a few of the many reasons why you should visit Sicily. We have just returned from one of our Winerist trips to the Isola Bella and have brought back the best tips and insights into the island’s rich wine, food and history. The first part of our Sicily Diaries takes Winerists to the South East of the island, to Ragusa and Marina di Ragusa. If you would like to read about the second part of our wonderful journey.
Photo: Sicily's Scenic Beaches
We landed in Catania and after picking up our little car (ensure you book your car in advance as it is a lot more expensive to do it on the spot) headed south for lunch and a stroll through Syracuse. We arrived at the Piazza del Duomo just in time for wedding bells and assisted a Sicilian ceremony in this beautiful masterpiece of baroque architecture. We had chicory, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella pizza – replicating this at home is truly impossible! It went beautifully with a glass of Insolia wine – the indigenous white wine of Sicily. It’s crisp and refreshing – perfectly paired with all types of seafood and vegetarian pizzas and pastas.
Photo: Sardines in Sicily
We then headed down to Noto for the best ice cream in the world – or so the Sicilians claim! Go to Corrado Constanzo for the pistachio ice cream and then head to the centre of town. If you are lucky enough to be there in the afternoon, you will love the colours at sunset. The red and golden buildings will be mesmerising in the soft sunset light.
We arrive at our first hotel, La Moresca in the evening, just in time for a quick check in and stroll in the little romantic port. Located in Marina di Ragusa, this charming hotel is home away from home. The big beds, the soft Sicilian touches and the great terraces, remind you of the old baroque home this once was. The scent of lavender will follow you throughout the building. We had the best night sleep here.
Photo: Marina di Ragusa and La Moresca Hotel
In the morning head to the breakfast terrace and enjoy the fresh coffee and seasonal fruit. Head to a winery for a taste of Insolia wine and some local red – Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato. We recommend Avide, a small winery which produces excellent wines. In the afternoon head to the beach for a quick lunch and some sunshine. The afternoon at the beach is a must as sunsets on the marina is beautiful! In the evening you can enjoy a nice dinner at the Private Beach Club. It is right opposite the little yacht port and it offers wonderful seafood and impeccable service!
After two blissful nights in Marina di Ragusa, we head to Locanda don Serafino, for a stay in the baroque town of Ragusa and dinner at Il Duomo – a two Michelin star restaurant. Our stay at the Locanda was peaceful and ethereal. The balconies give you the perfect view of the stunning baroque building, particularly in the sunset light. Dinner and the tasting menu at Il Dumo was what we expected and more. Chef Ciccio Sultano produces perfect dishes with the help of pistachios, fennel and Nero d’Avola wine. You have to try the truffle ice cream and ask the Sommelier to give you a tour of the wine cellar. You will be amazed by the beautiful collection. Service was 10 out of 10 and the food was perfection. Finish it all off with a piano concert in the main town square. Locals and tourists come together to listen to young and established talents. The acoustic is wonderful and the views breathtaking. We cannot wait to be back in Ragusa!
Photo: Ragusa Ibla
Written by Diana Isac, Winerist CEO and Co-Founder