Boutique B&B hideaway in Baroque town, tumble of designer rooms, lush garden. - Casa Talia is a B&B with a difference.
When Marco and Vivianna left the hurly-burly of Milan, to discover a slower pace of life and a better place to live, they could have chosen anywhere. They chose Modica and we understand why. It is a fantastic Baroque town, which spreads up two sides of a steep ravine, like layers of a cake. Dramatic and beautiful, its tiers of houses cling to the hillsides and churches dominate the skyline. Known as "the town of a hundred churches " its bells ring the passing of time, but Modica seems not to notice, feeling as if time has stood still somehow. It is a truly wonderful town.
Two extremely clever architects, they set out to create a boutique retreat, a secret hideaway. They took humble stone dwellings of the town, in what was once the Jewish Quarter, and they transformed them into an intricate tumble of rooms, steps and pathways, centred on lovely gardens, which form the heart of Casa Talia - a haven of shade and peace, seemingly worlds away from the busy town below. Blessed with olive trees, palms, pomegranates and lovely Mediterranean shrubs, it is utterly charming. Professionally, it must be especially gratifying for them to have been featured in the magazine "Elle Décor Italia " as one of THE places to stay - a real accolade.
Not for the faint-hearted or infirm, apart from the steps to reach the rooms, Casa Talia is a good five-minute walk (ten minutes back!) down narrow alleyways and steep stairways, to Modica's main street - well worth the effort though and a fascinating "behind the scenes " glimpse of the town.
Each of Casa Talia's rooms has its own independent entrance, with terrace, overlooking the garden. Most have spectacular views of the San Giorgio church and the historical centre, over the multi-layered rooftops of the town. With hints of Modica's chequered history, rooms have touches of Greek, Arabic and Spanish, but are always distinctly Sicilian, with stone walls, lime plaster, cane roofs and floors of stone and traditionally patterned tiles. Retaining an apparent simplicity, they are stylish, comfortable and ingeniously designed, with a modern flourish.
Breakfast is served in the garden, overlooking those stunning views, or in an amazing room, which has partly been hewn out of the rock. Guests are thoroughly spoiled with fruit smoothies, freshly-baked bread and delicious home-made jams and pastries. Marco and Vivianna infuse Casa Talia with a quiet gentility. They are usually on hand, but discreet. However, their two "local ladies " handle breakfast and their aim seems to be to fill you up for the rest of the day! They are delightful.
DO NOT visit Sicily without staying at Casa Talia.
Modica is arguably one of the most interesting slices of Baroque in this corner of Sicily. It certainly is at the very centre of the main Baroque towns, so makes an ideal base for visiting any of them. It spreads up two sides of a steep ravine, like layers of a cake. Dramatic and beautiful, its tiers of houses cling to the hillsides and churches dominate the skyline. Known as "the town of a hundred churches " its bells ring the passing of time, but Modica seems not to notice, feeling as if time has stood still somehow. Its main street is full of incredible and fascinating architecture, which creates a breathtaking backdrop - you simply cannot help but be impressed by it. As well as its fabulous shops and restaurants, you will see ostentatious palazzi, beautiful old churches, impressive cathedrals and grinning gargoyles that seem to watch you from beneath every balcony!
Modica is a busy and bustling place, full of life and feels typically Italian and 'lived in' - it's lovely to stroll around, day or night, to absorb the very Sicilian atmosphere and to enjoy a spot of great shopping in its chic, designer shops. Staying here gives you a real taste of a particularly appealing, modern day Sicilian way of life.
Not only is Modica famous for its art and architecture, but also for its chocolate. They still use the ancient Aztecs' traditional recipe and a chocolate festival is held each year, in March. There are some specialist cafés and shops where you can sample the town's peculiar flavoured chocolate - try the famous chilli chocolate!
It is a truly wonderful town and one of our favourites in Sicily.