Begun in 1738 and designed by the architect Rosario Gagliardi. Up a flight of 250 steps and segregated from the streets by ornate iron railings, this is the heart of the old town and contains some of its best and most prized artworks. These include a statue of San Giorgio which is carried around the town in devout processions.
At the base of Ibla's rocky ridge is the Giardino Ibleo, the town's public park. The pride of the town, these manicured and leafy gardens have views over the surrounding valleys and are the venue of choice for promenading locals as well as tourists. Watching several generations of family meeting up and groups of teenagers strolling arm-in-arm is a charming introduction to Sicilian life.
Next to the Duomo di San Giorgio is the small Museo del Duomo, which is open on weekends. The museum contains stone statues and reliefs from the original pre-earthquake of 1693. Many drawings from the various churches along with architectural drawings. There is also a nice little stone carving, from the 15th century, portraying a honey-maker (mielaio) with honeycomb and jug.
Ragusa Ibla is fascinating to explore its labyrinthine streets weaving through stone palazzi to open onto beautiful, sun-drenched piazzas. It's easy to get lost but you can never go too far wrong, and sooner or later you'll end up at Piazza Duomo, Ragusa's sublime central square. If in doubt, just look upward to catch a glimpse of the towering Duomo.Ragusa Ibla hosts a wide array of Baroque architecture, including several stunning palaces and churches.
Interested in Sicily's history? Check out Ragusa's archaeological museum (Museo Archeologico). Situated in Ragusa Superiore, this museum contains some fascinating and important exhibits from the surrounding area. Interesting artifacts include an articulated doll with moving joints from a child's grave at Greek Kamarina, and the sculpture of a warrior known as the Guerriero di Castiglione. It's a bit off the tourist trail and not the easiest to locate so be sure to consult our map. The museum is just off Via Roma - at a lower level, down steps from the main street. There is a small admission charge of 3 Euros.
Via Natalelli / Ragusa, Sicily / Hours: 0900-1330 and 1600-1930 / Phone: +39 0932 622963 / Map
Catacombs of Cava Trabacche (Grotta delle Trabacche in Ragusa)
A visit to the Grotta della Trabacche will testify to the presence of settlements of the late Roman and Byzantine in the area called Bottino and Centopozzi. In addition to the tombs in the area, there are also the remains of a Byzantine farm and a rural church. The catacombs were also used in one of Inspector Montalbano’s mysteries titled, The Mystery of the Terracota Dog.
Started on 15 April 1694 shortly after the huge earthquake of 1693, the original church was completed in just 4 months. After a few years it was decided that the church was too small for the new town of Ragusa Superiore and in 1718 construction was started at the same location of a much larger and grander church. The church stands as a Baroque monument in the Piazza which bears it’s name, San Giovanni.
A funerary complex that goes back to Late Roman times, and which comprises three large hypogea, in addition to others of more modest dimensions. These are set in the form of corridors with loculi graves along the walls; while monumental features are present in the form of baldacchino tombs and isolated sarcophagi. The necropolis is dates to the IV-V cent. A.D.
The origin of the castle dates back to the mid-17th cent., when the fief of Donnafugata was acquired by Vincenzo Arezzo La Rocca. The castle was continuously altered until the early years of the 20th century, when Corrado Arezzo, Baron of Donnafugata and Senator of the Kingdom of Savoy, transformed the façade into what we see today. The result is a summation of styles ranging from the Venetian Gothic of the elegant loggia that dominates the centre part, with its two-light windows surmounted by lace work and rose windows, to the late Renaissance style visible in the massive towers. The castle, which incorporates other previous construction, boasts some 122 rooms.