Despite being the gateway to south-eastern Italy Comiso has managed to maintain the unspoilt and relaxing charm that have always been the hallmark of rural Italy. Here you can step back from the world while taking in the intense Mediterranean flavours of the best local cuisine and soaking up the sun in on the many locally run farm and guest houses.
It might be the gateway to southeastern Sicily but Comiso is still a sleepy, unspoiled destination where most of the accommodation consists of farm stays and guesthouses. Topping the luxury list in the town centre is El Homs Palace (Via Generale Girlando 49), an elegant hotel with a reputation for scrumptious breakfasts. A short drive outside town, Villa Orchidea (Contrada Boscorotondo) has a swimming pool and tennis courts set in lush parkland, while glorious traditional manor house La Dimora di Spartivento (SS115, km323) is a good mid-range option. Family-run Abraxia B&B (Piazza San Biagio 15) offers cosy, central rooms at budget prices.
Comiso’s shopping scene is relatively limited, with most of the town’s interesting shops concentrated in the streets west of Via Principe di Piemonte. If you’re keen to scratch a retail itch, Vittoria to the west and Ragusa to the southeast are both peppered with eclectic boutiques and markets. Ragusa’s main market takes place on Wednesdays next to the football stadium and there are smaller markets every day of the week. For a fashion fix, both Via Roma and Corsa Italia are lined with local designer stores, while Le Masserie shopping centre (Via Achille Grandi) is well worth a visit. Via Cavour in Vittoria is a good port of call for both fashion and handmade souvenirs.
Packed with intense Mediterranean flavour and utilising the very best local produce, Sicilian cuisine is famous worldwide. Disio Ristorante (Via Principe di Carignano 37) showcases the region’s traditional cookery at its best, with dishes based around homemade bread, fresh pasta, caponata and delicious vegetable stews. Sud Risto Pub (Via Biscari) is a secret known to few visitors, but its creative combinations and glorious desserts make it a local favourite. For a real treat, head to Michelin-starred Restaurant II Duomo in Ragusa (Via Bocchieri 31), where the 10-course menu with wine pairings will delight even the most refined palate.
Celebrated all over Sicily, Carnevale sees the streets of Comiso and its surrounding towns fill with floats, music and revellers dressed in colourful costumes for a week of fun and celebration.
St Biagio’s Day
Focussed around St Biagio Square in the historic centre of Comiso, this religious celebration features a procession, trade fair and exhibition of local craftsmen’s products.
During Easter, the population of Sicily downs tools for several days of processions, services and age-old ceremonies. The biggest events take place on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and include observances of traditional rites that date back to the Middle Ages.
Celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, this national holiday is one of the most important events in the Sicilian calendar. Religious processions take place in most towns across the island, but the real fun happens the night before when beach bonfires provide the focus for dancing, music and revelry.
Tutti i Santi
Legend has it that the spirits of the dead visit Sicily’s children on this important national holiday, leaving them toys and other gifts. It’s traditional to exchange presents of a scrumptious local confection nicknamed ‘bones of the dead’, which is on sale at local pastry shops throughout autumn.