Tourism is one of the principal resourses of Eloro District, as it emerges from the positive development trend in the last decade, also thanks to the improving activities financed by Eloro GAL and LEADER II. From the baroque city of Noto, recently made UNESCO world heritage site, and Vindicari’s and Cavagrande del Cassibile’s nature reserves, to the extraordinary eastern coast of Portopalo and Pachino, with the island of Capo Passero’s nature reserve, and the archaeological areas of remarkable historical interest, Eloro District boasts a priceless cultural, environmental and artistic world heritage.
The Tourist Section, complementary to the Territory Section (a guide to the sites of Eloro District), is an operating support at tourists’ disposal for the organization of their stay and touring.
Tourist activities and services have definitely improved in the last 10 years. In particular, non hotel facilities have almost tripled, also thanks to the LEADER II programme who financed three of them.
Similarly, entrepreneurship has steadily increased and improved tourist services while the cooperation policies of territorial bodies have brought new life and energy to the sector. All this has also been possible thanks to the positive effects left by LEADER II and LEADER PLUS Programmes.
Alongside the tourist offer connected to natural, archaeological and historical resources, food and wine offer is gaining importance.
Since Dionigi’s times, the delicacy of Syracuse’s cuisine was renowned all over ancient Greece, as Miteco from Syracuse (IV century b.C.) emphasizes in his “Sicilian Cook”, the first scientific treatise on gastronomy and waiting service art in the human history.
In fact, the local cuisine is particularly rich and varied thanks to the variety of agricultural and dairy products the territory offers and it is characterized by tasty and healthy traditional dishes. Along the Ionic coast, sea dishes prevail, especially those based on tuna, dolphin fish and octopus.
Some enterprises, particularly in Marzamemi, have started fish processing and managed to obtain excellent typical products linked to the local Mediterranean tradition (bottarga, tunnina, musciame).
Tuna locally processed is hooked in the Ionian and Mediterranean seas, which increases the high quality of its meat and its unique taste. From tuna they get a wide range of products: the fine bottarga, ventresca (the softest and finest part of tuna), tarantello (the beefiest part), Filetto and Buzzonaglia (the darkest part of tuna produced in tiny pieces). Into the inland, we can find valuable cheese varieties, and also salami and sausages made from selected pork meat. Val di Noto’s Rotisserie is famous for its unfailing arancini and the typical scacce, stuffed with various appetizing fillings.
The Eloro confectionery represents one of the oldest features of local culture: each dessert, in fact, tells the history of the territory, the traditions and habits of peasant families who used to make auspicious recipes on special events, the meticulous work of cloistered nuns and the indelible marks of Arab domination as far as the use of pistachios, almonds, cinnamon and honey is concerned. The richness of desserts is also given by their colours, shapes and fantasy. Among them, cannoli, Sicilian cassata (kind of cake containing ricotta and candied fruit), marzipan fruit and blancmange (flavoured with Romana almonds, from Noto hills) stand out. Furthermore, ice creams and granitas (chocolate, almond, black mulberry, tangerine and Noto’s strawberry flavours) deserve an important place as for their taste and variety. Finally, the region is particularly suitable for the growth of vines, being constantly warmed by the sun. One of the most internationally famous wine produced in the District is Nero d’Avola, though it is mainly used as blending wine to strengthen other fine wines, like Cerasuolo. Some producers have recently marketed Nero d’Avola bottled. Favourable weather conditions ensure early harvesting, starting from the end of August, which guarantees high organoleptic properties and high-quality wines all the same. In fact, high temperatures contribute to the concentration of sugar content and to the natural raising of grape wine alcohol content, while early harvest prevents the fruit from being damaged by September storms. Other important wines are the DOCs (guarantee of origin) Moscato di Noto (D.M. (Ministerial Decree)14.03.1974 – Official Journal N. 199 of 30.07.1974) and Eloro (D.M. 14.03.1974 – Official Journal N. 199 of 30.07.1974); while Rosso di Noto, originally a variation of Eloro, is currently under recognition.
Eloro wine is produced in the area which includes the municipalities of Noto, Pachino, Portopalo di Capo Passero and Rosolini within the province of Syracuse, and Ispica, within the province of Ragusa, with the grapes from Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Pignatello vines. They produce it in both the red and rosé varieties.
Moscato di Noto wine is actually the “Pollio”, Haluntium sweet wine of which Plinio said “it originates in Sicily and tastes of must”. It is produced in the municipalities of Noto, Rosolini, Pachino and Avola. It is a gold yellow brilliant wine, with muscat typical aroma and sweet spiced taste.
In the territory, there are 8 oil mills though olive oil is currently sold by measure. Actually, some advanced enterprises have already received several national recognitions. Thanks to the interest shown by Noto’s SOAT (operating technical assistance department) N. 31, the product received PDO label “Monti Iblei” by the GUCE (Official Journal of European Community) L. 322/97 of 25th November 1997 and, in the latest 3 years, it has been awarded Gran Menzione and recognition at national level. Some of the producers belong to Eloro district and one of them was supported by Leader II Programme through their marketing campaign . In the District, they also produced “DOP Monti Iblei” extra virgin olive oil, from Tonda Iblea variety olives and Moresca olives.