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Visit Ragusa

Ragusa is located in the south-eastern part of Sicily to the west of Syracuse, and is a provincial capital and an architectural wonder.

Ragusa has been carved on a wide limestone hill and is, along with seven other Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto,  a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In common with many towns in Sicily Ragusa has its roots in antiquity.

Explore Ragusa

Sicily Visitor comment: Ragusa is one of the highlights of a trip to Sicily. Its old-world feel and beautiful Baroque architecture as well as the views from its hill top location make it a treat to visit.

The town has been altered from what it looked like originally when a considerable portion was destroyed in an earthquake in 1693. The rebuilding added a lot of new structures to the town, and the pattern of the rebuilding has divided the town into two parts.

The older part is called the Ragusa Ibla while the newer part is known as the Ragusa Superiore. You can get excellent views of the old town from the higher parts of Ragusa Superiore.You will need to park your car in the new town and you can pick up a map from the tourist office here too.

Ragusa

The rebuilding that took place following the earthquake has not reduced the importance of the town one bit. In fact, it is the baroque rebuilding that took place immediately following the earthquake that makes Ragusa so special. Wandering through the ancient strrets and alleys and discovering churches, palaces and pretty squares (piazzas) is a huge treat in Ragusa.

Most of the baroque buildings can be found in Ragusa Ibla. If you can start your visit at the Chiesa di Santa Maria Dell'Itria in Ragusa Superiore. Next to the Chiesa di Santa Maria Dell'Itria there is a view point over the valley between here and Ragusa Ibla and then beyond over the old town of Ragusa. The view is superb.

The church was was partially destroyed during the 1693 earthquake and one half of the church was rebuilt in the Baroque architecture style, while the older Gothic half has been kept in tact.

From here walk down the steps to the bottom where the Chiesa Delle Anime Sante Del Purgatorio and the Palazzo Sortino Trono are at the start of the Ragusa Ibla part of Ragusa. Head along Via Giulia and you very quickly get an excellent viewpoint.

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Head to the Piazza Duomo where the Duomo di San Giorgio is one of the highlights. It sits on the edge of the sloping piazza and is a typical example of late baroque architecture. Its most distinctive feature is its dome which is over 40 meters high and supported by 16 columns.

Around the Piazza Duomo are many beautiful buildings and at the high point there is also a stunning viewpoint back over the mass of houses covering the hill on the other side of the valley and making up Ragusa Superiore. The Piazza is a great place to stop for a delicious Sicilian ice cream or a glass of wine.

From here walk south-east to Piazza Polo where you will find the church of Saint Joseph which is also built in the lovely Baroque style. This is one of the most beautiful of the churches in Ragusa though there are many more in Ragusa to discover.

Continuing to the eastern tip of the town there is the Iblei garden with both Italian and English style gardens. The gardens are lovely and have great views over the surrounding hills and valleys.

Ragusa

Ragusa Superiore is also worth exploring and not just for the views over Ragusa Ibla. The division of the town in two parts gave rise to the building of two cathedrals and in Ragusa Superiore you will find the Cathedral of San Giovanni Baptista. This is another fine Baroque church with impressive stucco decoration inside.

In Ragusa Superiore the archaeological museum is an important tourist attraction.

Ragusa is a key location in the filming of a popular Italian detective series called Commissario Montalbano. You may well see this on television as you are travelling around Sicily.

Where to visit nearby?

Modica and Scicli are two more of the Val di Noto UNESCO listed towns which are easily visited from Ragusa. Palazzolo-Acreide and Noto are also part of the group and not too far away.

Closer to Ragusa is an interesting neo-gothic castle, the Castello di Donnafugata, an attractive castle built of white stone. You can visit the interior of the chateau for an insight into life for the Sicilian nobility.

Apart from that, Ragusa can always offer you easy access to the spectacular sandy beaches of the southern coast.The Marina di Ragusa is a popular seaside resort and the fishing village of Punta Secca is also popular. Punta Secca and the Donnafugata castle are also locations for the Montalbano detective series.

You can find more local travel ideas in the South-East Sicily guide,

See also: 

Photos of Ragusa

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • cathedral1
  • centre
  • chiesa-giacomo
  • chiesa-giusepppe
  • chiesa-purgatorio
  • chiesa-santa-maria-itria
  • church
  • fountain
  • houses
  • iblei-gardens
  • ornate-buildings
  • piazza-san-giovanni
  • ragusa-castle
  • ragusa-church
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Map of Ragusa and places to visit

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Ragusa places to visit

Modica

Modica

Modica is a stunning Baroque town.

Modica guide
Comiso

Comiso

Comiso is home to the Castle of the Naselli.

Comiso guide
Scicli

Scicli

Scicli is a beautiful Baroque town.

Scicli guide
Akrai

Akrai

Akrai is home to an ancient Greek settlement.

Akrai guide
Palazzolo-Acreide

Palazzolo-Acreide

Palazzolo Acreide is one of the most beautiful villages of Sicily.

Palazzolo-Acreide guide
Ispica

Ispica

Ispica is a hilltown and home to Sicano castle carved into the rock.

Ispica guide
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