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Intro

Villas in south-east Sicily

The SoutheastNovelist Gesualdo Bufalino described the southeast of Sicily as an ‘island within an island’, and certainly this pocket of Sicily has a more remote and refined air about it, undoubtedly the lingering legacy of its glorious Greek heritage. It is a legacy that it wears with certain amount of aristocratic pride.

Inland, a chequerboard of stonewalled fields and river valleys embraces a series of richly baroque market towns - Ragusa, Modica, Noto and Scicli. Shattered by devastating earthquake in January 1693, they were rebuilt in the ornate and much-lauded style known as Sicilian baroque, a style that lends the region a honey-coloured cohesion and collective beauty. Nowhere is this aesthetic unity more visible than in Syracuse, one of the Sicily’s most visited cities, and by almost universal consent the most beautiful city on the island.

Although it is tempting to devote all your time to Syracuse, the rest of the region deserves more than just a cursory glance. Prehistoric cave settlements, some of Sicily’s best preserved and most interesting classical sights and an earthy sense of rural pastoralism - the Iblean Mountains are the domain of cattle-breeding, cheese-making and wine-growing - make this one of the most underappreciated regions in Sicily.

Villas in south-east Sicily

View of Ragusa

Scicli baroque balcony detail

Modica

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