Casa Talía is a collection of small houses, restored using traditional Sicilian materials and methods, which surround the pretty mediterranean garden. Located in the Modica’s historical centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this inviting property is housed in a charming stone cottage. Nestled in a flourishing garden, the structure is characterized by the natural and biocompatible materials, for the typical Sicilian exposed stone technique and antique bricks, lime plasters, cane roof, stone and polychrom tiled floors. You will be surprised by the regenerating effect of Casa Talía. Choosing the slowliving gives you the chance to savour every single second of your stay in Sicily.
The owners, Marco and Viviana, architects from Milan, spent 3 years creating their dream home. They chose to work with local materials and the entire project was designed in accordance with ecological and social principles. The roof was built using local bamboo, the walls are made of stone and lime plaster, and the floors have been decorated with recycled Arabic tiles or stone from the island. To top it all off, the furniture is either recycled or custom-made by local artisans and wood workers.
Talía means “Look!” in the Sicilian dialect and you’ll have to look hard to find this gorgeous guesthouse, camouflaged inside old houses on Modica‘s tiered hillside. There’s no reception but wave your magnetic card in front of the stone wall and a concealed sensor will unlock a rustic door. Casa Talía is definetely a small oasis, surrounded by a beautiful baroque background. Talía is the ideal location for a regenerating and relaxing stay in a place which is both natural and cultural.
From exposed brickwork and rustic beams, to patterned tiles and delicate lace, guest rooms at Casa Talía are stylish retreats inspired by Sicily’s rich cultural heritage. Each of Casa Talía’s unique rooms has its own independent entrance, with terrace, overlooking the garden. Most rooms at the boutique Casa Talía 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, the rooms at Casa Talía are stylish, comfortable and ingeniously designed, with a modern flourish. All offer modern luxuries, including air conditioning and complimentary WiFi.
Start the day with breakfast in the hotel garden, a peaceful spot overlooking the city, before spending the day exploring the nearby city of Ragusa or unwinding on the sandy beaches of the island’s southern coast. Back at the hotel, guests can indulge in a massage, followed by a feast of Sicilian cuisine at one of Modica’s many inviting eateries. Otherwise step into the hidden garden, filled with birdsong and dripping with fat figs and plums, white lilies and pink anemones, and talia! The tightly packed houses and ornate churches of this stunning Unesco-listed town are spread like an amphitheatre at your feet. Spending a few days in Talía means a holiday alternating between total relaxation in the garden, historical and artistic adventures and simple walks on the desert seashores under the Mediterranean sun.
Apart from the steps to reach the rooms, Casa Talía is a good five-minute walk 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. Whilst staying at Casa Talía do visit the splendid Cathedral of San Giorgio which is one of the most important religious monuments of Sicily. The city is also renowned for its culinary delights with a tantalizing variety of seasonal dishes that follow the different Sicilian traditions. Chocolate lovers will be in heaven here as one of Modica’s most famous culinary claim to fame is its chocolate and the different textures and flavours produced. Sicily enjoys sunshine throughout most of the year and with some wonderful sandy beaches close by a walk along the seashore is a must.
Modica can be found in South Sicily and is a magical place that charms visitors with its culture, food and architecture. Slowliving is what drives Casa Talía allowing guests to relax, lose track of time and to really enjoy their stay at their leisure. This little jewel is the perfect hideaway for those looking to escape for a few days whilst savouring the landscape, delicious local food and enticing culture. If you are travelling around the south of Italy and fancy a bit of a slow life within a gorgeous restored atmosphere, you should consider spending some time at Modica’s Casa Talía.
A honey-coloured Baroque town in southern Sicily, Modica drapes itself over a spur between two steep valleys. This lovely rustic boutique hotel lies on the ‘country’ side of one of the river gorges that define the town, in what was once the Jewish quarter. The city has been declared UNESCO Heritage Sites in Italy thanks to its natural caves, its baroque architecture, for the stone walls of his countryside. Casa Talía is located in the old Jewish quarter at short distance from the main street of Modica, between stone houses nestled on the hill and characterized by hundred baroque cathedrals. The surroundings of Casa Talía deals with many interesting sites. The choice is wide as you can visit the cities of Ragusa and Caltagirone, amazing beaches, natural reserves, and from the nearby port of Pozzallo, you can reach Malta by hydrofoil.
Value for Money
Standard double rooms are priced at Euro 150,00 all year round. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi. Rates are subject to change without prior notice.
Access for guests with disabilities?
No: there are too many different levels and steps.
Yes, children of the right age would respond well to the fun setting. But bear in mind that the many steps are not pushchair friendly and there’s no pool.
Talía is a fascinating place, an island on the island, where harmony is the main protagonist, thanks to the meticulous restoration by the two owners, Marco Giunta and Viviana Haddad, a couple of young married architects from Milan who decided to live in Modica choosing slowliving over city life. The restoration of the rooms has been inspired by the unique features of Arabic houses in the Medina providing peaceful spaces in the heart of a busy town. Like a Moroccan riad, rooms in Talia are independent and do not communicate, but they all face the central garden which is an important element of the space and a place for encounters. Great attention has been given to the choise of materials, which are natural, ecological, and, above all, typical of the Sicilian tradition: stone walls, lime plasters, cane roof, stone and polychrom tiled floors.
Two extremely clever architects, they set out to create a boutique retreat, a secret hideaway of such. 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 Talía, a haven of shade and peace, seemingly worlds away from the busy town below. Blessed with olive trees, palms, pomegranates and lovely Mediterranean shrubs, the quirky boutique Casa Talía is utterly charming.
Our Special Readings
Top 5 of things to do in Modica
If you are traveling through the south east of Sicily, surely in your itinerary there is a stop in Modica. All the guides (and your friends who have been there before) tell you that it is wonderful, peaceful and lively at the same time, full of churches with a superb baroque. All true! But what are the really unmissable things to do in Modica? Between “great classics” and more “alternative” choices, here’s our top 5 of things to do in Modica!
1. Belvedere San Benedetto
The Belvedere San Benedetto is one of the most beautiful panoramic spots in the city; it stands on one of the four hills that surround Modica (Pizzo, Gaganta and Monserrato). The city spreads like a carpet under your eyes, with its roofs perched on top of each other, the bell towers of the many churches that stand out here and there, the elegance of the only wider and noble road, Corso Umberto I. Whether you come at sunrise, at sunset or in the middle of the day, this is the right place for photo-lovers. But it is just as exciting to just sit on one of the benches, admire the view and get lost in imagining how Modica used to be once, when instead of Corso Umberto it ran a river.
2. Give a chance to Modica Alta
As you know, Modica is divided into (at least) two areas: Modica bassa and Modica alta. The first is the richest of churches, tourist attractions, baroque buildings, restaurants, bars, night clubs, museums, and is developed around Corso Umberto I, the main street and “best place” of the city. It must certainly be visited and enjoyed in every corner! But do not underestimate Modica Alta: even this area of the city is beautiful and fascinating, more authentic and real, less crowded by tourists and more experienced by the locals. Lose yourself strolling through the streets, alleys and enchanting squares; you will come across beautiful churches and splendid buildings, such as that of Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso with its carved portal, wrought iron balconies and stone masks.
Walking through the city: Modica
Any thoughts of philosophy, work and so on had been far from my mind when I had set out that morning from my hotel, Casa Talía. This is an intimate boutique hotel in the heart of Unesco-protected Modica, is the brainchild of two Milanese architects, who have used the hotel as a showcase for their classy stylings. Modern features complement a layout inspired by Sicily’s rich cultural past, and the result is a laid-back retreat in the midst of the island’s sun-baked countryside.
Like other towns in Sicily’s rugged Val di Noto, Modica was all but destroyed during a momentous earthquake in 1693. And like the other towns in the area, it was rapidly rebuilt in the flamboyant architectural style of the time, the result so striking that it is now a World Heritage Site. So evidently there’s a wealth to see. But where to start? The town is sharply divided: there are many churches, but two evoke deep-seated passion, if you come from Modica you are affiliated either with San Pietro in the lower town or San Giorgio up on the hill above. They could be the focal points of each trip.
First stop was the monumental San Pietro, its ochre-stone façade complete with curvy embellishments, its interior a calming space of white stucco. By contrast, just off the back of the building there’s a treat of a little church turned museum: San Nicolo Inferiore was hewn out of the rock face here centuries ago and, in the course of time and earthquakes, became buried. It was rediscovered by chance in 1987. Together with its 12th-century Byzantine-style wall paintings, it remains only partially restored so it exudes a romantically haunting sense of the past.
Special City Guide: Modica
Modica is an attractive historic town in south-eastern Sicily, one of the area’s UNESCO-listed Baroque towns. Modica is particularly famous for its chocolate, and it is an appealing destination for food-lovers, making a good holiday base or day-trip destination. Modica is situated in the dramatic landscape of the Monti Iblei, a range of high ground divided up by deep valleys and surprisingly populous towns. Important in Medieval times, Modica was rebuilt after the great earthquake of 1693 and now boasts fine late-Baroque architecture as well as a medieval old town.
Modica is built around a junction of steep valleys, with the oldest part of town, Modica Alta (‘Upper Modica’) on a ridge in between. Modica Bassa (‘Lower Modica’) is the more recent (though still historic) district along the valley bottoms. Rivers once ran down Modica’s valleys, lined with buildings, but after a terrible flood in 1902, when they burst their banks, they were covered over. The town’s main street, Corso Umberto I, follows the course of one of these rivers, in the valley to the west of Modica Alta. Nowadays the busiest part of the town centre is at the junction of two valleys where Corso Umberto opens into Piazza Municipio, overlooked by an eighteenth-century hilltop clocktower.
Modica is a large and busy, authentically Sicilian town. As well as Modica Alta and Modica Bassa, there is also a third part of town, Modica Sorda, a modern suburb detached from the historic part of Modica. There is a helpful tourist information office on Corso Umberto, Modica’s valley-bottom high street, which is also the location for the town museum, its chocolate shops and a good proportion of its restaurants and cafes. This street, lined with worn, elegant buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, is the place tourists are likely to spend the most time, and it’s a reference point for exploring the town.