From Noto to Catania, passing through Modica and Favara, the advice of designer Magda Masano on where to go and what to do in Sicily if you love art and design

We begin the Interni summer 2023 special with the first of the guided itineraries for art and design lovers: the destination is Sicily and our guide is Magda Masano.

It will be she, designer and artisan, who will accompany us through places and proposals of art, architecture and design that do not neglect history but invite us to discover the most contemporary local expressions.

See also: special art and design holidays in Italy

Who is Magda Masano, our guide in Sicily?

Magda Masano's grandfather, a tireless stonemason, opened his first workshop in Misterbianco, near Catania, in the 1940s. His son Mario Masano, a student at the Art Institute of Catania, took over from his father and in the 1960s transformed the family business into the Masano Marmi company.

It adopts new materials, new machinery, new processes and new points of view: what remains unchanged is the vocation for tailor-made craftsmanship.

Magda, the first of Mario's two daughters, began her apprenticeship in her workshop in 2009, simultaneously inaugurating a small ceramic workshop.

It is from this personal initiative of his that Folk was born in 2011, a brand of furnishing accessories in lava stone, marble and terracotta which, then, in 2015 found its space in Catania in the showroom in via San Michele.

Folk Concept Store today it is a place of exposure and conversation that also hosts exhibitions, workshops and works of other designers and craftsmen. Among the designer's collections, the Teste di Moro Pop are handcrafted in terracotta and hand painted with ceramic enamels. The decorations change from head to head with details that testify to the craftsmanship.

Contemporary art in Catania

The Sicilian itinerary, as it should be, begins by moving away a few slow steps from the Folk Concept Store.

It is still in via San Michele, in fact, the beating heart of Catania's creativity, that at number 28 Aurelia Nicolosi and Antonio Fallica opened their KōArt Gallery, a cubic and fresh space where they welcome the works of young Italian and foreign artists ranging from figurative to the conceptual.

The media chosen are different: they range from painting to photography, from installations to drawing and sculpture. 'Arise' is the title of the exhibition that you can visit until 30 July, dedicated to a young talented Calabrian artist, Angelo Gallo.

The exhibition offers the public an interactive and engaging experience, linked to the concept of rebirth and transformation and is curated by Marilena Morabito and Roberto Subtle.

For information: Tel 3397179005 - Hours: from Tuesday to Saturday, 5.00-8.30 pm

In Taormina, an evening dedicated to eclecticism

In 2001 Guido Spinello bought a restaurant in the heart of Taormina and began to arrange it with his cousin Christian Sciglio, who he already had a long experience in the beverage sector.

Today the Morgana Lounge Bar, known throughout the world, is an institution of the long nights of Sicilian Ionian coast.

The value of Morgana is that it has never stopped renewing itself, indeed it is tradition now to wait for the start of the season to discover its new face.

From season to season, the installations recall different worlds in the name of a design that tells stories: the authentic, passionate and talented stories of Sicilian artisans.

For the 2023 edition, the staging was entrusted to Salvatore Musumeci who chose to retrace one of the richest and most fascinating periods of Sicilian millenary history, from the Arabs to the Normans.

Between the walls of the garden, an almost hidden outdoor space in the belly of the oldest Taormina, this year you can admire the tables of the artist Alessandro Florio.

In Noto, a stay in nature

Inspired by her grandfather's passion for agriculture, Simona Privitera, patron of i Carusi, decides to merge the love for nature, the passion for bio and a philosophy of life that aims at the well-being of body and mind, with a high-level hospitality project .

Thus was born the bio relais in Val di Noto, the Carusi, a true wellness retreat not far from the baroque town. The spaces, the materials, the energy supplies, even the technological additions: everything in this structure is designed to be eco-sustainable and minimize the environmental impact.

The boutique hotel, born from the recovery of an old country house intended for processing almonds, enhances traditional materials, such as soft stone of Noto, light clay and the hard limestone of Modica.

In Modica for a sweet experience

First of all, a clarification (so if you have the opportunity to visit Modica you won't find yourself unprepared): following the decision by Antica Dolceria Bonajuto not to adhere to the PGI certification regime, in disagreement with the approved specification, from 2018 Bonajuto chocolate can no longer be defined as Modica Chocolate, alternatives are preferable such as Ancient Sicilian Chocolate.

Let's go back to the story, the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, with over 150 years of life, is the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily still in business and one of the oldest in Italy.

It has been producing its chocolate in Modica since 1880 and very little has changed since the ancient cold-processing process of cocoa used by the Mesoamerican populations was spread to Europe through the Spanish "conquistadores".

In 2008 it was included by Eurispes among the 100 excellences of Italy. The Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, in addition to the production and sale, offers the opportunity to attend workshops, tastings and tours to discover the origin of this very particular type of chocolate.

In Favara (AG), a new generation cultural center

Cultural center, gallery, residence for artists, Farm Cultural Park turns 13 and inaugurates its third edition of Countless Cities the Biennial of the Cities of the World.

The Biennale, which will be hosted in Sicily in the two locations of Farm Cultural Park, will remain open until January 28, 2023. And, as in previous editions, it will focus attention on all those good practices of "Youth Power" which from Iran to Korea via Egypt and Italy are fighting rules and habits by proposing new lifestyles and new values for the cities and states in which they live and to which they belong even if they originate from distant places.

Six months of exhibitions, displays, installations, performances, laboratories, workshops, lectures and talks to talk about the city, "utopian communities" of the environment, urban regeneration and active citizenship.

Let's go back to Catania for a comparison between disciplines

Andrea Guardo Studio is an architecture, interior and design studio, but it is also a space, in nineteenth-century heart of Catania, where you can participate in events and cultivate interactions, an intelligent search for ideas, in a constant and virtuous comparison between disciplines.

An architecture studio that also becomes a meeting place for emerging talents in art, architecture and design. Andrea Guardo's intense "transversal" professional activity between Italy and abroad includes projects and constructions in the residential, tourist-hotel and commercial sectors.

The scientific research carried out is focused on urban regeneration and the enhancement of the local cultural heritage.