Day 15: To the Shores of Marina di Ragusa

This morning we awoke and decided it was time to move on.  We had just spent 4 fantastic nights split between two idyllic properties and loved it, but the trade-off for spending time in tranquil, rural areas is you have to get into your car and drive someplace for dinner.  And since dinner in Sicily starts after 19:30 (which is actually early by local standards; no one but tourists eat at that time), driving to dinner and back was in dark and unfamiliar territory, and also meant no alcohol for Jim.  We wanted our next locale to me more in the fray of things, with restaurants within walking distance and would it be too much to ask for a balcony with a view of the sea?  K thanks.

Bee&Bee resident.  See what I did there?

Taken at Le Foglie D’Argento, a Bee&Bee resident. See what I did there?

After another superb homemade breakfast and sadly checking out of the B&B, we packed up the car and headed off.  Our first stop was supposed to be to the WWF-administered Riserva Naturale Orientata di Torre Salsa but our guidebook directions were vague, the Visitor’s Center was closed, and we had no trail map nor the faintest notion which land belonged to the Riserva and which land belonged to excitable, pitchfork-wielding landowners.  Besides, the car thermometer read 32C outside (90F) and that’s just hot.  Some of us get crabby in the heat.  Or maybe it’s both of us.  Ok, perhaps just me.  Either way, we scrubbed our first mission of the day.

The next agenda item was to head toward the town of Canicatti for lunch at a restaurant owned by a dear friend’s cousin.  The drive took us along the coast before heading inland, passing the much-visited Greek temple ruins at Valley of the Temples near Agrigento.  Sicily has many such ancient temple/theater sites (both Greek and Roman), and one might argue they collectively form a Top 3 tourism draw to the island.  We were well aware of their existence, it’s hard not to be when planning a trip to Sicily, but, well, we had to be honest with ourselves and realize we just weren’t all that interested in stopping by any of them, no matter how ancient they are.  Besides, we’d already seen the oldest buildings in the world on Gozo, so this would be like viewing new construction.  Our mutual decision was affirmed when we were driving by and Jim said, “Oh, look, there are the temples,” and I was more enchanted by the herd of sheep on the other side of the road.

We reached Canicatti and easily found the restaurant, Sapor Divino, where we had a light bite to eat that included the absolute finest fresh mozzarella we’ve ever tasted and the best bruschetta of the trip.  After a very enjoyable lunch we got back into the car and continued driving another 2 ½ hours to our next destination, the beaches of Marina di Ragusa.

Our balcony side view

Our balcony side view

Marina di Ragusa is a small resort town that seems to be popular with Italian/Sicilian holidaymakers and we had our sights set on finally dipping a toe into the beautiful turquoise water we’d seen so much of.  We arrived into town with no lodging reservations, but soon landed at the beautiful seaside Hotel Miramare, where Jim was able to work out a deal on a lovely room with a side view balcony.  We immediately knew this would be a hard place to peel ourselves away from, too.

Marina di Ragusa's main piazza (photo taken well before passeggiata started)

Marina di Ragusa’s main piazza (photo taken well before passeggiata started)

After being on the road much of the day all we wanted to do was relax and gaze at the sea, which we effectively did for the next couple hours.  Eventually it grew dark and we had a nagging feeling we should eat something, so we wandered out of the hotel and right into the throngs if people doing their passeggiata.  Passeggiata is a long-standing Italian tradition of strolling the streets in the evening, although Jim suspects the actual translation of passeggiata means “it’s too f***ing hot in the house, let’s go outside.”  Either way, it appeared every family unit in a tri-county area was in Marina di Ragusa for tonight’s passeggiata, so we joined in and strolled the town from top to bottom, passeggiating like we’ve never passeggiated before.  This worked up a little bit of an appetite, but we couldn’t commit to a full sit down dinner so we opted instead for a true Sicilian meal, gelati from Caffe delle Rose, before turning in and sleeping soundly.

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