Un viaggio nel cuore della meravigliosa Sicilia Barocca
UNA INGLESE A MODICA
Joanne Harris affascinata dai sapori e dagli odori della città ma anche dall´accoglienza al Monoresort. Il testo originale
Joanne Harris prende il treno alla volta della Sicilia e racconta in due pagine nella sezione Travel del Times (nella foto) la sua esperienza siciliana. La Harris non poteva non scegliere Modica come punto focale della sua avventura siciliana visto che da autrice del famoso best seller "Chocolat", è attratta dal profumo del cioccolato modicano. E la Harris ne gusta tutte le varietà passando poi dalle ´mpanatighhie" ai biscotti di mandorla. Non mancano descrizioni autentiche dell´atmosfera dei vicoli e della strade modicane, le incursioni nelle chiese più importanti per una presentazione che risulta affascinate sicuramente per i lettori del quotidiano londinese.
…….We’re staying in Modica, in the south of Sicily, 90 minutes’ drive from Syracuse. (There are frequent trains, too, for those who prefer to avoid the roads.) It’s an historic city, built on either side of a narrow valley. Modica Alta is the higher, less affluent part; Modica Basso, the lower and more prosperous part. A long tradition of rivalry exists between the two parts of the city. Each has its own cathedral, and every year the two patron saints of Modica — San Giorgio and San Pietro — are brought down ceremoniously from their respective plinths to face each other in combat for the leadership of Modica.
Such old religious traditions permeate this part of Sicily. Modica is a city of churches, with more than a hundred still in use — and another hundred now closed. At dawn and sunset, the church bells ring — their voices as cracked and persistent as those of the stall-holders in the market square.
Elsewhere, from the Corso Umberto I, with its varied shops, the main part of the town rises steeply through a series of winding stairways and little cobbled streets towards a cliffside peppered with tunnels and caves. Much of the architecture is Baroque, following the near-destruction of the town by earthquakes in the 17th century, but there are some stunning remnants, from the Gothic portal of the Chiesa del Carmine to the recently discovered 12th-century cave-church of San Niccolò Inferiore, built in a late Byzantine style, with decorations ranging from the 8th to the 16th century.
With its steep, cobbled streets, Modica is perhaps not the best place for anyone with mobility problems, but for those who brave the climb through the narrow streets to the top of the valley, the view is
breathtaking. A few miles out into the countryside, there are other beauties to explore — orange and lemon trees laden with fruit and fields of flowers, even in December.
We are staying in a Monoresort cottage on one of those steep, narrow streets in Modica Basso. The name is misleading, as this is not a resort in any normal sense of the word, but a handful of little cottages scattered around the city. All different, all beautiful, the cottages are all fully equipped and stocked with a variety of food and drinks. There is an iPad forour use and a friendly personal assistant,Enrica, who can arrange anythingfrom transport to and from the beachto childcare, restaurant reservationsor even a session with a personal chef.
The town is only a few minutes’ drive from the coast but, although Sicily can still be warm enough for swimming out of season, we find the coastal villages deserted, shops and restaurants all shut. I rather enjoy the deserted beaches and empty seas, but all the same it is slightly eerie. The small seaside fishing villages vary in attractiveness and accessibility, but there are beautiful sandy beaches at Marina di Modica and Cava d’Aliga, among others. A few miles inland, it is different again. There’s the historic capital of the region, Ragusa, with its churches and palaces, and the elegant Baroque town of Scicli, with its cliffside caves.
We love the food in Sicily. It has its own character, independent from the mainland, reflecting its Arab, Greek and Spanish influences. We discover a number of excellent restaurants in Modica, serving local dishes such as spaghetti al ricci (spaghetti with sea urchins) or couscous al pesce (couscous with apricots, pine nuts and locally caught seafood).
To accompany our food, we try local red wines such as Nero d’Avola — pleasant though not too sophisticated — and dessert wines including the renowned Malvasia delle Lipari. You shouldn’t leave before tasting some of the local bakery’s specialities, including Inspector Montalbano’sfavourite fast food, the ubiquitousarancine, deep-fried rice croquettes, which may contain shredded chicken, beef, cheese or fried courgette……..