Siracusa, Ragusa & Southeastern Sicilyby Joanne Lane
The southeastern corner of Sicily is a popular choice with travelers. Its historic towns, beautiful scenery and uncrowded beaches merit a substantial part of any Sicilian itinerary. Two glorious epochs in history have helped make the southeast towns what they are today. The Greeks settled the region and it flourished for 500 years under them as a center of culture, learning and political power. The second epoch was made possible by a devastating earthquake that flattened towns and villages in 1693. As a result, it was rebuilt in the ornate architectural style known as Sicilian Baroque. Siracusa is the major city in the region and the most visited, but there are plenty of other gems to discover in the wider province. Noto, Modica and Ragusa all feature the Baroque style; you could undertake some serious trekking at Pantalica's necropolis or Cava Grande in regions of immense beauty, bird watching at Vendicarri or explore Sicily's most southern point around Portopalo. Highlights: Ortigia: This beautiful warren of streets combines ancient Greece and Baroque with a view of the sea from almost every lane. Piazza del Duomo: This is one of Sicily's great squares and the Duomo its best church and a prime example of Siracusa's polyglot character. Take a dip in Cava Grande's waterfalls and refreshing pools. Pantalica's 5,000 tombs riddling the hillsides. The beautiful wetlands of Riserva di Vendicari. A great new resource. --Travel + Leisure. "The perfect companion for planning." --Rutgers Magazine. "These useful travel guides are highly recommended." --Library Journal. There aren't many places in the world you can ski and then hit the beach afterwards for a refreshing dip; see Greek, Roman, Etruscan, medieval and Arabic architecture all in the same town; and meet some of the friendliest people in the world. The richness in culture is demonstrated in the theater, cinema and art found everywhere. The coastal towns, the Mafia, the wines and foods, the astonishing history - all are explored in this guidebook. Full color throughout. This is excerpted from our full guide to Sicily.
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