This day was a personal highlight. We drove to Modica, a small town on the top of a hill best known for its unusual, grainy chocolate. Like many of the towns we visited, Modica has been under the rule of Greeks, Arabs and Romans, and the influence of each group is still visible. We ran up the hundreds of stone steps to the center of Modica Alta, where we had an amazing view of the valley, Modica Bassa and the ocean. At the top of the steps is a baroque cathedral, the duomo di San Giorgio, and a maize of cobblestone streets. We learned that in the nineteenth century aristocrats from the surrounding area moved to Modica Alta, pushing the less wealthy to Modica Bassa.
We left Modica for Noto, a baroque town that was almost completely rebuilt in the nineteenth century and again following an earthquake in the 1990s. Unlike Modica, Noto was crowded with tourists. We visited the duomo, which was ornate and white in the Sicilian baroque, a stark departure from the decadent gold mosaics of the cappella palatina.