WHAT TO SEE IN RAGUSA
10 things you can’t miss out
1. THE OLD TOWN CENTRE OF RAGUSA IBLA WITH ITS DUOMO OF SAN GIORGIO
Leaving our hotel you can go for a lovely walk in the old centre of Ragusa Ibla, strolling through stunning Baroque buildings and alleys reminding an Arabic medina. A maze of narrow streets and stairs that end up in Piazza Duomo, the famous square of the Inspector Montalbano’s town, Vigata. You can enjoy a granita while admiring Duomo of San Giorgio and then go on walking towards the city gardens. Going down the street you will also meet Circolo di Conversazione, where the city nobility meets, and many other buildings.
2. PORTALE OF SAN GIORGIO
Portale of San Giorgio is an important landmark and one of the few things survived the terrible earthquake that nearly destroyed Ragusa in 1693. This magnificent example of Gothic-Catalan architecture is made of pink-coloured limestone and is near the city gardens main entrance.
3. THE DOME OF SAN GIORGIO AND VIA SOLARINO
Going up Piazza Duomo you will reach Via Solarino, a panoramic street overlooking the dome of San Giorgio. You will be astonished by such a close view of the dome with its colourful glass windows and Baroque architectural features. You will have a unique glimpse of the roofs and the surrounding valley, whose colours change with the change of seasons.
4. THE STAIRS OF RAGUSA IBLA
One of the most charming path we always recommend to tourists is a pedestrian path that links Ragusa Ibla and Ragusa Alta, the city built after the earthquake.
Starting from our hotel and going up the path you will meet some churches, Chiesa del Purgatorio, Chiesa dell’Itria, Chiesa di Santa Lucia and Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Scale, both with a raised balustrade that gives a breathtaking view of Ibla.
At the end, you will reach Corso Italia, the main street of Ragusa. The best moment to walk this path is surely at sunset.
5. CATTEDRALE OF SAN GIOVANNI
The Hyblaean city is well-known for having two patron saints: Saint John (Ragusa Superiore) and Saint George (Ragusa Ibla). Cattedrale of San Giovanni Battista was built in the centre of Ragusa in the late 18th century. It has a raised parvis over the square which is fenced with a pitchstone balustrade. Inside the Cathedral there is the Cathedral Museum, which is open from Monday to Friday from 10.00 am to 12.30 am, and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm.
6. THE BRIDGES
Ragusa is also known as the city of bridges. They link the North and South of the city and offer an amazing view of the surrounding territory and the vegetable gardens of Cava Santa Domenica. The bridges are three: Ponte Nuovo (or Ponte del Littorio), Ponte Papa Giovanni XXIII and Ponte Vecchio (or Ponte dei Cappuccini), the most ancient one.
7. THE APPIANO HISTORIC HOUSE MUSEUM
In Via Valverde 69, a charming historic house became the House Museum of Master Appiano. Let yourself be enraptured by the singular meeting of art, music and precious antiques. There are six rooms adorned with 180 pieces of the 13th and 19th centuries. Two rooms in particular stand out from the others: Sala della Musica, with a grand piano and a blue big Louis XIV sofa style, and Sala da Pranzo, an enchanting dining room set with Murano crystal glasses and silver cutlery.
8. VALLATA SANTA DOMENICA
If you love nature you can’t miss out Vallata Santa Domenica, the green heart of the city. This valley was also our grandparents workplace: the watermills and the terraces were used to grow vegetables and are still present today. Moreover, it was a real industrial site because of limestone extraction and production, and these traces still remain in the big caverns that can be visited. In the final part of the valley there are some graves of Oriental origin carved in the stone, a precious proof of history and culture.
9. GROTTA DELLE TRABACCHE
This cavern is an important example of the funerary architecture described by Jean Houël in its Grand Tour Tale, and it was made famous by an episode of Commissario Montalbano. Grotta delle Trabacche is 5 km far from Ragusa in Contrada Buttino and is immersed in the Hyblaean countryside. Outdoor walk lovers can choose it as the last destination of their excursion.
10. CASTELLO DI DONNAFUGATA
Castello di Donnafugata, 15 km far from Ragusa, was built by Bernardo Cabrera, great executor of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies, and later it became the summer residence of the noble family Arezzo. Nowadays the castle is a museum hosting vintage furnishing and rooms of rare beauty, such as the art gallery or the mirror room, a room with big mirrors covering the walls, fine curtains and an ancient grand piano.