31/10/20 Caught an early Halloween morning train to Catania, often overlooked by visitors who fly in, then dash north for touristy Taormina or south for splendid Siracusa (my base) but it is full of gems. The centre is a short walk by the coast from Catania Centrale. I head straight for the famously rowdy fish… Continue reading Catania


17/10/20 I returned to Siracusa for a month, working remotely, which gave me the chance to visit some areas missed off last month. The first was Modica, often included in a circuit with Noto and Ragusa. Of the three, it’s the least impressive but it’s a handsome town, quiet in my low-season arrival. With the… Continue reading Modica


27/9/20 With just a morning to spare before we need to take the airport bus. We head away from Ortigia to the ancient Basilica di San Giovanne Evangelista, dropping in on the contrastingly modern Basilica Santuario Madonne Delle Lacrime on the way. The Madonne Delle Lacrime is a striking 120m-tall conical tower that dominates the… Continue reading Siracusa

Parco Archaelogico

26/9/20 North of Ortigia, in easy walking distance, is the Parco Archaelogico, site of the largest Greek/Roman amphitheatre in Sicily. Though the sites here are all outside, visitors are expected to wear masks throughout and follow a specific route. On a Saturday, it’s fairly busy, with a. few guide-led groups, but not too packed to… Continue reading Parco Archaelogico

Lido Arenella

25/9/20 A day at the beach is demanded. Details on bus routes or stops is scarce. Thanks to a pair of helpful grandfathers and an online timetable we wait hopefully outside a department store. A bus shows up with no number visible and no ticket selling or checking facility. We board it, fingers crossed. 45… Continue reading Lido Arenella


23/9/20 Noto is beautiful, there’s no denying. It’s a good base for day trips but probably not enough to fill two days, unless 18th-century wallpaper if you bag. So it is that we make a three-hour round train journey to Ragusa. And we don’t regret it. Similarly afflicted by the 1693 earthquake and rebuilt in… Continue reading Ragusa


22/9/20 We revisit the Communal Gardens in the morning and grab a croissant and coffee for breakfast before walking to the train station. Taormina is perched on a hill far above the rail tracks. By car, the route down is over 4km if winding roads. It’s about 40 minutes by foot walking over some of… Continue reading Noto


21/9/20 We get picked up at 7.20am for today’s hike up Mount Etna, driving up above 1,000m, where new building is forbidden for safety reasons and to protect the National Park. We pass through the town of Zaffarana, known for its honey production. Due to the mineral-enriched soils that come from the volcano, excellent vines… Continue reading Etna