Modica and Ragusa are two of the eight Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto. It can be hard to decide whether to stay in Modica or Ragusa because both are charming cities in Sicily. If you are planning to visit Sicily soon and are visiting the southeastern part of the island, Modica and Ragusa are definitely worth the visit.
Choosing to stay in Modica versus Ragusa will depend on your travel goals. Both Modica and Ragusa are beautiful Baroque cities, and both have remarkable architecture to see. Views of Ragusa’s old town, from both inside and out, are stunning. Modica is home to Sicily’s oldest chocolate factory so if you like chocolates, staying in Modica is a great option. Both cities also have good food and you have a lot of options when it comes to hotels.
In this article, we will talk about what you can do in both cities and places you can eat. We will also give you some hotel recommendations. If you are ready for your Sicilian Baroque city adventure, read until the end!
Modica Vs Ragusa Sicily
Modica and Ragusa are located in southeast Sicily and both are Baroque cities that are part of the Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto. There are 8 cities that are part of Val di Noto – Catania, Militello Val di Catania, Scicli, Caltagirone, Modica, Ragusa, Noto, and Palazzolo Acreide. These Baroque towns are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the Sicilian Baroque architecture.
If you want to experience Baroque Sicily, it is worth visiting any of the Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto. Modica and Ragusa are just about 25 minutes away from each other and we will be focusing on these two charming cities. Both cities definitely have a lot to offer so let’s take a look at what you can do when visiting Ragusa and Modica so you can decide which city to stay in during your visit to Sicily.
What To Do In Modica
Modica is divided into two parts – Modica Alta and Modica Bassa. Modica Alta is Modica’s upper and older town while Modica Bassa is the lower part of the city. These two parts are connected by numerous staircases. Being the older part of the city, Modica Alta offers a more charming atmosphere. However, Modica Bassa also has its own charms.
If you want to start in lower Modica, staying in Curso Umberto will take you to the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily. Antica Dolceria Bonatujo was founded in 1880 and is still in production. Aside from chocolates, this factory also has dry pastries, nougats, and gift boxes that you can take back home to your loved ones. The chocolate produced in this factory is not like your regular store-bought chocolates. Antica Dolceria Bonajuto incorporates flavors such as fennel, cardamom, ginger, and chili. They also incorporate other common flavors like cinnamon and vanilla. The factory also offers tours where you can learn the factory’s history. If you are a chocolate lover, trying Modica chocolate should be part of your itinerary.
The Duomo di San Giorgio (Cathedral of San Giorgio) is one church that you do not want to miss when you are in Modica. Well, you really can’t miss this beautiful church as it overlooks the city of Modica. The staircase leading up to the church has over 250 steps and you will be able to enjoy a beautiful view of Modica once you finish climbing the flights of stairs. There are other beautiful churches in Modica such as the Chiesa di San Pietro Apostolo, Chiesa Rupestre di San Nicolò Inferiore, and Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista but the San Giorgio Cathedral is the most impressive church in Modica.
If you are a fan of the performing arts, consider watching Italian entertainment at Teatro Garibaldi. The theater is just a 6-minute walk from the Duomo and while it is not a big theater, you can enjoy an evening watching wonderful performances.
Where To Eat Modica
You won’t get hungry if you ever stay in Modica as there are restaurants that serve delicious Sicilian cuisine, both fine dining and local restaurants alike. If you want to experience dining at a Michelin-star restaurant, head on to Accursio Ristorante in Modica Bassa. This restaurant serves traditional Sicilian dishes and wine. The restaurant also offers vegetarian and vegan options as well as gluten-free dishes if you have special dietary needs.
Another restaurant you can go to if you are craving gourmet pizza is RARO Cucina e Pizza. This restaurant sits on a hill and offers beautiful views of the San Giorgio cathedral and other houses and buildings in Modica.
If you are looking for desserts in Modica, Caffe dell’Arte in Corso Umberto serves Sicilian desserts like Cannoli and ice cream. Not only do they serve these delicious desserts, but they also have a wide selection of pastries, cakes, and coffee.
Where To Stay In Modica
If you are planning on staying in Modica, there are a lot of accommodations that you can choose from. You can choose from luxury hotels, boutique hotels, villas, agriturismo, and more.
Some of the hotels you can stay at in Modica are Modica Boutique, La Piccola Locanda, and Hotel Torre Del Sud. These accommodations are less than 5 km away from Modica’s city center. If you want to stay a little closer to where the Duomo is, B&B La Terrazzo Dell’Itria is a good option.
What To Do In Ragusa
Ragusa is also known for its Sicilian Baroque architecture and the city is also divided into two parts. Ragusa Ibla is the lower part and Ragusa Superiore is the upper part of the city. Lower Ragusa is also the older part of the city that has 18th-century architecture that survived the earthquake that hit southeast Sicily in 1693.
Like Modica, one of the most beautiful buildings in Ragusa is a church built in the Baroque style. The church of San Giorgio (yes, it has the same name as the cathedral in Modica) is located in Ragusa Isla and it also appeared in a popular Italian TV show, Inspector Montalbano.
If you are one for amazing views, you can find a picture-perfect view of Ragusa from Santa Maria dell Scale. This place is a popular spot for picture-taking so you might want to come early morning if you want to avoid the crowd. You can just also explore the old town of Ragusa Ibla and walk along its charming streets where you will find small shops and other hidden gems.
If you want to see a bit of greenery and move away from the usual baroque architecture, head on to Giardino Ibleo and take a stroll in the wonderful garden. You can also find a spot with a view of Ragusa Superiore in this garden.
Where To Eat In Ragusa
One of the restaurants in Ragusa Superiore that you need to try at least once is La Taverna Del Lupo. This is a family-run restaurant that serves authentic Sicilian dishes. The restaurant is always packed so it is best to make a reservation if you are planning to dine here.
If you just want a light snack or dessert, there is a café right by the Duomo. Caffé Italia serves Sicilian sweets such as cannoli, almond biscuits, brioche, granita, and homemade ice cream. Aside from delicious pastries, this café also serves other dishes such as arancini, pasta, and salads. The café serves coffee as well.
If you are in Ragusa Ibla, head on to Duomo Ristorante, a two-star Michelin restaurant that serves modern Mediterranean dishes. It is a fine dining restaurant and it is quite a popular restaurant so it is best to book in advance. If you want a more reasonably priced restaurant but still serve quality food, I Banchi in Ragusa Ibla is a great option. This restaurant is actually opened by a chef from Duomo Ristorante so you can be sure that the food is made with fresh and high-quality ingredients.
Where To Stay In Ragusa
Like in Modica, you have a lot of hotel options if you plan to stay in Ragusa. If you want to explore the more historic part of the city, staying in Ragusa Ibla is your best option. For luxurious accommodation, the Relais & Chateaux Locanda Don Serafino offers a more intimate place with only 11 rooms. This hotel is also home to a Michelin-star restaurant.
For a luxury hotel in Ragusa Superiore, you can book a stay in Relais Antica Badia. This hotel is housed in a restored 18th-century villa and it has 16 rooms decorated in an authentic Sicilian style. Other hotels that you can stay at in Ragusa are San Giorgio Palace Hotel, Artemisia Resort, and Poggio del Sole Hotel.
Both Ragusa and Modica are Baroque cities in southeastern Sicily and they definitely have their own charms. Choosing between these two cities can be hard. We have talked about some of the things you can do in Ragusa and Modica, and we have also talked about some of the places where you can enjoy delicious Sicilian cuisine to help you plan your trip.
At the end of the day, the decision should be based on your personal preferences and travel style. If you are having a hard time deciding, you can do a day trip in either Ragusa or Modica. If you have any other questions, let us know via the contact form on our website!