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Report 2005: Naples & Sicily: Warmly Welcomes Travelers

By teezee from US, Spring 2012

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Page 9 of 13: Avola & Noto

Our next adventure took us to Avola and Noto. With the exception of the puzzle of why the lovely Sicilians we met seem untroubled by the amount of garbage on or around their very beautiful beaches, we found our explorations always delightful if occasionally we made perilous turns in the “centro historics” looking for parking lots. Avola has quite a nice beach and there is a parking lot, a little café, and a shaded park overlooking the beach for those in your party who aren’t sun-seekers. We found it gave everyone in our group an option from the swimmers to the shade-seeking readers content to watch the ocean from a bench under a tree. The main church in Avola is charming and, away from the city and the beaches, you will find a lovely national park in which to walk, sit, or swim depending on your mood (Riserva Naturale di Cava Grande de Cassibile).

Noto and its glorious Corso Vittorio Emanuele earns its UNESCO heritage designation. The churches and buildings along the Corso are the finest restored baroque architecture I’ve ever seen. Finding the parking lot at the top near the Corso was a driving adventure for us: we seemed to miss the signs and the turnoff at least four times before finally arriving but it was worth it in every way.

We stopped mid-sightseeing to find the well-recommended Ristorante Meliora and had a very good if somewhat pricey lunch (most of the restaurants right on the Corso or along it are adequate but pretty close to the tourist trap syndrome unfortunately, with mediocre food and inflated prices though the gelaterias are quite good). Just the Corso from start to finish was a two hour journey and, again, we would have liked more time here. We were told the beaches are lovely and there is a bird sanctuary nearby but our time was up and we were longing for home, the garden and the pool!

We took the next day off, restocking supplies at the produce trucks and stores in Cassibile, and reading, visiting and drinking wine by the pool in the garden. We knew our next day would be long: a winding trip to Piazza Amerina and the Roman Villa Casale with lunch and time to ceramic shop in Caltigironde plus a climb up the endless stairs to the cathedral in Caltigironde for those with the energy to do it. It was nice to have a do-nothing day before the next trek.

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