Residents and tourists can vote for their favorite balcony in Modica, Sicily, during the first annual contest called Modica Città Ri-fiorita. The re-blossoming of Modica contest goes through June 29, 2010. When tourists vote for their favorite flower-bedecked balcony they’ll be entered in a drawing for prizes.
Prizes are to be awarded for the top 5 balconies, while all votes go into a drawing with 8 prizes for the lucky tourist, ranging from 2-6 night hotel stays in Modica and the surrounding area. The voting cards are available at participating hotels and the tourist office on Corso Umberto in Modica.
Of course, nothing in Italy is without political controversy. Town councilor Nino Gerratana of the PDL party (founded by Berlusconi) criticized the initiative as a waste of time and money when the recession is hurting local businesses. He summed up the program as being simply a “media stunt attempting to hide serious problems behind a flower.”
Actually, the idea of the Modica Città Ri-fiorita initiative is to stimulate civic pride and involve the local citizens in caring about their community, encouraging them to look beyond their own front door. At the same time, the city becomes lovelier, while the tourist has a more enjoyable experience, explores the city in depth which encourages overnight stays instead of day trips, and spreads the word to other travelers. All this brings an economic return, while empowering the local citizen to make a difference in their community. Apparently all too subtle for town councilor Gerratana to grasp.
For a special hotel stay in Modica I recommend the extremely welcoming Palazzo Failla, in an historic family home, which is run with gracious style by the proprietors. It’s only drawback is its location in Modica Alta, a bit of a hike from the main center of town. There are 2 restaurants on the premises, the Michelin-starred Gazza Ladra, and the simpler Locanda del Colonello. To experience Modica and the rest of southeastern Sicily in depth, including a cooking lesson in our home, check out our tour Walking & Cooking in Eastern Sicily.