Which Is Better: Noto Or Modica?

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If you plan to visit Southeastern Sicily, you might have a hard time choosing which city to go to.  Noto and Modica are two of the eight Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto and are known for their Baroque style. Modica and Noto are also less than an hour away from each other.

Noto and Modica both have beautiful cathedrals, rich history, and good food. Both cities are worth visiting and we recommend you to visit both of them even just as a day trip.

If you are short on time and only have time to visit one city, we have listed some of the things you can do in both cities to give you an idea of what they have to offer. Both cities can be somewhat similar in terms of experiences so the decision will definitely be up to your personal preference. If you are ready for an Italian adventure, read until the end!

Noto Vs Modica Sicily

Noto and Modica are both located in southeast Sicily. Both of these towns were actually rebuilt in the Baroque style after being hit by an earthquake that struck Sicily in 1693 killing over 60,000 people. Noto, Modica, and 6 other cities are also part of the Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto and are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Modica and Noto are beautiful Baroque cities to visit and you can definitely go to both cities if you have a few days to spare. To go to Modica or Noto, you can fly into Catania International Airport and drive to either city.

Catania to Noto is about an hour and 10-minute drive while going straight to Modica will take you about an hour and 30 minutes. If you are planning to visit both cities, going to Noto first is the best option as it is the nearest Catania Airport. Aside from driving, you can also take the train from Catania to either Modica or Noto. 

If you only have time to visit one city, let’s talk about some of the things you can do in these charming cities in southern Sicily.

What To Do In Noto, Sicily

What To Do In Noto, Sicily

Noto is a small city so you can definitely explore it in one day. However, if you want to explore the city at a slower pace, you might want to spend two to three days in Noto. Here are some of the things you can do in the city of Noto.

Visit The Noto Cathedral

Visit The Noto Cathedral

One of the main attractions in Noto is its cathedral. The Noto Cathedral has a Sicilian Baroque architecture and was built in the early 18th century. The site where the now cathedral sat was also a cathedral that was destroyed in the 1693 earthquake. The cathedral is located in the Piazza Duomo or the city’s main plaza and it overlooks Noto’s historical centre.

The cathedral is open to the public daily but the visiting hours are limited when there are religious services and ceremonies. When visiting the cathedral, make sure to wear appropriate clothing. You will not permitted to enter if you wear sleeveless tops, shorts, and other revealing clothing. Noto Cathedral is located in Noto’s historic city center.

Visit Palazzo Ducezio

Visit Palazzo Ducezio

Palazzio Ducezio is another 18th-century building in the Baroque style. The building is right across from Noto Cathedral and is home to Noto’s town hall. Inside the palace is the Halls of Mirrors which is one of the most beautiful rooms in the palace that has gold, stucco, and two large mirrors. The room was originally a small theater but was transformed into a reception hall in the style of Louis XV. Palazzo Ducezio is open to the public but you need to buy a ticket to get in.

Hike Laghetti di Cavagrande

Laghetti di Cavagrande is 30 minutes away from Noto by car and is actually located outside of the city of Avola. It is also known as the Cavagrande del Cassibile Nature Reserve and it is situated along the Cassibile River. This reserve is a natural oasis that has natural pools and lakes with crystal-clear waters. 

Access to the reserve is free and the hike to the lakes takes about an hour. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes and bring water and snacks with you. No public transport serves the area where the reserve is located. If you plan on visiting the Laghetti di Cavagrande, renting a car is the best option if you haven’t already.

Swim In The Unspoiled Beaches At The Vendicari Reserve

Another reserve close to Noto City is Vendicari Reserve. The reserve is located south of Noto just about 30 minutes away by car. You will see some of the best-unspoiled beaches in Sicily in this reserve – Eloro Beach, Calamosche Beach, and Vendicari Beach. Like Laghetti di Cavagrande, the best way to reach Vendicari Reserve is by car. There reserve also has an entrance fee to be paid at the place. If you are traveling with your family, you can get a family discount as long as you are a family of 3 to 4 and your children are under 14 years old.

What To Do In Modica, Sicily

What To Do In Modica, Sicily

Like Noto, Modica can be explored in one day. If you want to fully appreciate what the city has to offer, it is best to stay in Modica for at least two to three days. Here are some of the things you can do in Modica City.

Visit Duomo di San Giorgio

Visit Duomo di San Giorgio

This cathedral is considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Sicily. Modica is divided into two parts: an upper and lower town, Modica Alta and Modica Bassa, respectively. The cathedral is located in the city’s upper town so you will have to do a bit of climbing to get there.

Like the Noto Cathedral, Duomo di San Giorgio was also built in the Sicilian Baroque style after the earthquake in 1693. Entrance to the cathedral is free and is open daily to the public. There is also a church with the same name in Ragusa Ibla so make sure not to confuse one and the other.

Climb Pizzo Belvedere

Climb Pizzo Belvedere

If you want to see a panoramic view of Modica, going up Pizza Belvedere will give you the best views of the city. This viewpoint terrace is right beside the Duomo and you can also see some of the parts of Modica Bassa.

Visit The Bonajuto Chocolate Factory

Visit The Bonajuto Chocolate Factory

If you are a chocolate lover, you will enjoy visiting the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily. It was founded in 1880 and the factory offers tastings and tours where you can learn about the factory’s chocolate history and production process. You can also get to taste their delicious chocolates as well.

The tour is booked by appointment and you can have a party of 20 people maximum. The chocolate factory has tours from Mondays to Saturdays with holidays being an expectation and the tour can be held in Italian or English. Children up to 5 years of age can join the tour for free. This can be a great bonding experience if you are traveling to Modica with your family.

Enjoy A Show At Teatro Garibaldi

For lovers of the performing arts, watching a show at Teatro Garibaldi will be a treat. The theater is small but it is housed in a charming building and it has a beautiful interior. The theater house shows different programs. From orchestra shows to plays, you can catch one of these shows if the theater happens to run on the day of your visit.

Have a Dip At Spiaggia Marina Di Modica

Who says Modica does not have beaches? Technically, the beach is 30 minutes away from Modica City. If you want to swim in Italian waters, visiting Spiaggia Marina di Modica is a must if you are staying in Modica.

The beach has crystal-clear waters and is ideal for surfing and windsurfing. It is a free beach equipped with several amenities such as umbrellas and loungers. This beach is perfect for individuals, couples, and families.

Is It Expensive In Noto And Modica?

It is less expensive to visit Sicily than the Amalfi Coast, and Noto and Modica are some of the less expensive towns on the island. If you will be staying at luxury hotels and eating at fine dining restaurants, you can expect to spend a lot as these experiences can be quite expensive. However, you can generally travel to Noto and Modica on a budget and still enjoy what these cities have to offer.


It is definitely a hard decision when choosing between Modica or Noto. Both Noto and Modica are charming cities that have a Baroque architectural style. If you have a love for this style and are interested in history, these cities are worth visiting.

Modica and Noto are less than an hour away from each other and if you choose to visit one city over the other, you can definitely do a day trip or even visit Modica or Noto for just half a day. We have listed some of the best things to do in both cities so you will have an easier time choosing between Modica and Noto. If you have any other questions, let us know!

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