Home » Guide to Ispica: An alternative destination of Sicilian Baroque

Guide to Ispica: An alternative destination of Sicilian Baroque

From the Loggiato del Sinatra to the Quarry, Up to the beaches with yellow dunes and emerald sea

by Ada Parisi
5 min read
Ispica, il Loggiato del Sinagra

Today I leave you a guide to Ispica: A wonderful alternative tourist destination of Sicilian Baroque, perfect for those who love south-eastern Sicily and the purest baroque. I'll show you this VIDEO ITINERARY which I'm sure will make you want to visit it at least for a weekend. Nestled among the most famous and main municipalities of Sicilian Baroque such as Modica and Ragusa (to the west) and Noto (to the east), This town of over 15 thousand inhabitants is known for both its archaeological and natural beauties. The Cava d'Ispica is one of the main attractions, But in the warm season it is just as nice to immerse yourself in the clean waters of the sea of Santa Maria del Focallo, to Porto Ulisse, crossing beaches formed by large yellow sand dunes, reminiscent of the Saharan desert. In short, If you love Sicilian Baroque, don't just visit the beautiful Ragusa, Modica, Scicli or Noto. Ispica is really worth a visit.

If you land at Catania airport, You can either rent a car or book a TAXI SERVICE that will take you to Ispica and the beach of Santa Maria del Focallo. Or, You can RENTING A CAR from Palermo, Catania, Ragusa and the other main Sicilian cities to reach Ispica in comfort. Is’ A service that I often use when I arrive at the airport.


The historic centre of Ispica: Sinatra's Loggia

From this short guide I am sure that you will understand how Ispica (which until 1934 was called Spaccaforno) is a fascinating alternative tourist destination of the Sicilian Baroque, such as to rival Noto or Scicli. The historic centre of Ispica will surely surprise you. In front of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, there is the spectacular Loggiato del Sinatra (by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra, who designed it in 1749): It is a masonry structure in the shape of a semi-ellipse, composed of arches and pilasters, which between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was made of wood for fairs during religious festivals. In 1960, the square was chosen as the setting for the filming of the film Divorce Italian Style. From then on, Many other films were shot in this unique square. Sinatra's Loggia, and in the forms takes its cue from Bernini's Colonnade in Rome, in St. Peter's Square, is the setting for the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, National monument in late Baroque style, Built after the 1963 earthquake, from whose reconstruction activity the Sicilian Baroque style originated. A visit to the Sicilian Baroque of Ispica is to be put on the agenda especially during the period of Easter Holy Week and the Christmas period, to admire the famous Living Nativity Scene. But also on the days between May and June to admire the spectacular sanded, in Piazza Sant'Antonio Abate.

Sicilian itineraries on and off the beaten track: some alternative

Don't forget, if you are planning a holiday in Sicily, to take a look at these alternative destinations as well

The Santissima Annunziata and Palazzo Bruno di Belmonte in Ispica

Another important monument in the old town is the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, finely decorated inside with stuccoes and frescoes, which houses paintings of fine workmanship such as the Annunciation and the Adoration of the Magi. Please note, the majestic bell tower that flanks the church. Palazzo Bruno di Belmonte, on the other hand, is aOne of the most important Art Nouveau buildings in the province of Ragusa. Now is the Town and it was wanted by the Honorable Pietro Bruno di Belmonte who wanted to gather his family in this large building. A project that was never realized, like the rest of the palace (Three floors and two corner towers) which in 1962 was sold by the Belmonte heirs to the municipal administration of Ispica, who made it the seat of the town hall. It was designed by the architect Ernesto Basile, who designed the extension of Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome. The two palaces have, In fact, Lots of similarities.

The Cava d'Ispica

Picturesque river valley more than 13 kilometres long, The Cava d'Ispica is a natural monument between the cities of Modica and Ispica. Inside, Immersed in the Mediterranean scrub, Catacombs are located, Prehistoric necropolis, Monastic hermitages and groups of dwellings from various historical periods. The quarry has the shape of a gorge and has served over the centuries to give shelter to the local populations. It is one of the most important rock settlements in all of Sicily. Among the main points of interest, Beyond the naturalistic aspects, there's the Fortress, a rocky island that guards the entrance to the Ispica quarry, Against invasions. Also worth visiting is the rock church of Santa Maria alla Cava. The view is equally impressive during the night hours, thanks to the artificial lights that are arranged along the path of the Quarry near the town of Ispica.

The golden beaches: from Santa Maria del Focallo to the Caves of Cirica

With 12 kilometres of coastline, Ispica has one of the most beautiful coastlines in south-eastern Sicily. Fine ochre sand and emerald green sea dominate a landscape that tourists know well and that goes from Santa Maria del Focallo to the Caves of Cirica. The beaches are protected by dunes, which can be very high, like the famous “White Maccone” which is probably the last dune left on a coastline where excessive urbanization has risked making a truly unique waterfront disappear, which is now part of the Special Areas of Conservation (ZSC) of the Region of Sicily. The area of Punta Cirica is interesting (or Cyriga), where small coves and white tuff cliffs offer impressive views, also thanks to the two stacks that reach 15 meters in height. The entire coastline of Ispica, to the beaches of Porto Ulisse, it's well served, with equipped areas, Tree-lined areas, water and public showers very useful in the summer.


  • Sinatra's Loggia
  • Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
  • Palazzo Bruno di Belmonte
  • Church of the Annunziata
  • Piazza Unità d'Italia
  • Cava d'Ispica
  • Beach of Santa Maria del Focallo
  • Caves of Punta Cirica
  • The White Machine (Sand Dune)

Caveau pizzeria and Incavò (two spectacular quality pizzerias set in the caves of the Cava d'Ispica)
The Moorish (Creative cuisine and excellent wines in a Relais surrounded by greenery)
confectionery Denaro
ice cream parlor L'artigianale (excellent ice creams on the seafront of nearby Pozzallo, signed by Stefano Baglieri)


  • Organic Sesame
  • giuggiulena - (Sesame nougat)
  • Cannoli
  • Red Sesame Cookies
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • carrots from Ispica, also in jam

You've already seen these recipes?

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