South-East Sicily

The shape and character of the south-east of Sicily is different from much of Sicily because of a natural disater that took place in 1693, when an earthquake shook the region and destroyed many of the towns.

The towns were rebuilt in the High Baroque architectural style, and are now considered to be masterpieces of the style

The importance of the architecture in these towns has been recognised and they are together inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site - the towns listed are: Caltagirone, Catania, Militello (in Val di Catania), Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa and Scicli.

Inland from here the town of Paterno has a well known castle.

To the east of the region (south of Lentini) is popular Syracuse, one of the most important towns in Sicily and a former centre of the Ancient Greek world (and the adjacent resort at Cassibile).

Syracuse falls in two sections of interest to visitors - the region around Neapolis, where the ancient monuments are situated (including the largest Greek Theatre in the world); and the heart of Syracuse old town at Ortigia (an island just south of the modern city), where again a great deal of important baroque architecture can be seen.

Countryside

As well as enjoying the towns and baroque architecture be sure to find time to explore the countryside of this region of Sicily, especially the Mont Iblei region north of Akrai.

Inland you can visit the town at Aidone and the important monuments at nearby Morgantina. close to the south-eastern tip of Sicily is the town and prehistoric cave complex at Ispica.

One particular highlight is the Necropolis at Pantalica, where thousands of tombs were carved into the rock faces along a gorge over an extended period dating back to the 12th century BC. The site is so important that is inscribed as a UNESCO protected World Heritage Site.

There are several small villages to discover eg Buccheri, Monterosso Almo and Giarratana, and also Akrai where some important and very early Greek ruins can be seen. It is the scenery, the views across the countryside and mountains, the rocky cactus-dotted landscapes that are the highlight of your visit.