Silvia Cycles Eastern Sicily
Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is a dramatic and singular land of ancient cities, beautiful beaches, architectural wonders and enchanted ruins. A diverse crossroads of many great cultures, the island has witnessed the rise and fall of Greek, Roman, Phoenician, Byzantine, Ostrogoth and Vandal rule, just to name a few. Sicily boasts an abundance of UNESCO World Heritage sites as well as the natural splendor of Mt. Etna, Europe’s largest volcano, which rises almost 11,00 feet from sea level. There are a wealth of natural and manmade wonders to explore.
This was my first visit to the island, and since our end of season company party was held in Siracusa, a beautiful baroque city, and one of the great historical seaports of the Mediterranean, I was excited to explore the city and the surrounding area by bike. So after our party was over, Andrea (our IT/ facility manager), and I took a few of our company touring bikes out to explore Siracusa and the famed Val di Noto area.
First we explored Siracusa (Syracuse) including the beautiful Ortigia quarter with its historical centre. This is a particularly elegant and vibrant part of town – both by day and night – with its narrow streets, squares and coastal walks. After that we headed out to pedal towards some of the famed Baroque towns of Sicily including Modica, Scicli and Noto. All three of these have been included in UNESCO as world heritage sites for their unique Baroque architecture and historical importance.
During our bike tour of the region, I was pleasantly surprised by the lush and tranquil countryside roads, which are in unexpectedly good condition for riding. The landscape varies from olive groves, to orange, almond and lemon orchards, to great beaches and wonderfully evocative old fisherman villages. The past 3,000 years of Mediterranean history is always within view – and excites the imagination. The weather was beautiful for cycling: dry and warm – with springlike temperatures of 20-25°c degrees. It was a truly a feast for the senses and a joy to cycle.
Here Are A Few Highlights From My Trip:
Modica: We climbed up to see the sleepy old town and churches. Beautiful.
Scicli: While walking in Scicli we stopped at Nino’s workshop. He is a tinkerer and he told us that when he was a boy all his family was living in the small cave that now is his workshop. It gave me a window into a uniquely Sicilian life.
Noto: We wandered in the old town and visited Vendicari natural reserve.
Catania: We experienced “the charming chaos” of Sicily’s large cities. We visited the Monastero dei Benedettini; explored the incredible fish market; saw the underground river Amenano: (you can visit it at the Agorà hostel); took a tour of Mount Etna. Stunning.
A Note About Catania: Catania is a very interesting place for the Mt. Etna volcano and its influence on the city history, however I would not recommend cycling to – or in the city- because of traffic. What many people do instead is to cycle the scenic route from the sea to the great volcano.
Interested In Exploring Eastern Sicily by Bike?
Self Guided: our self-guided bike tour – Eastern Sicily – from the Baroque Cities to the Capital of Magna Grecia explores the famous highlights of southeastern Sicily and the UNESCO World Heritage sites amidst the towns and cities of the Val di Noto. For more information on this self-guided trip, visit our Self-guided tour of Sicily Page on our website.
Guided bike tour of Sicily: with our sister company ExperiencePlus! you can explore Eastern and Western Sicily in two separate week long trips or one Grand Tour of Sicily where you see both sides of this beautiful Island!.