Ragusa, also known as "island within the island" or "the other Sicily" due to the peculiarity of its history and its socio-economic context that distinguish it from other Sicilian realities, lies on the southern part of the Hyblaean Mountains.
Capital of the its province, Ragusa is classified as UNESCO World Heritage site since 2002 for its valuable treasures of Sicilian Baroque and is considered one of the most charming Italian cities of art.
The city is divided into two nuclei, Ragusa Ibla, the old town, and Ragusa Superiore, the most modern part.
Ragusa’s appearance, as well as its history, was decisively influenced due to the intense seismic activity which, having destroyed the city, drove the inhabitants to rebuild it with its present semblance.
Useful information for your stay in Ragusa
How to reach Ragusa?
Ragusa is located on the SS115 (highway) connecting Agrigento, Noto and Syracuse (the SS115 highway is the historical road that runs through the five provinces of the Mediterranean coast of Sicily: Trapani, Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Ragusa, Syracuse, and is part of European route E931 from Castelvetrano to Gela and route E45 from Gela to Rosolini)
From Catania: take SS114 and go toward Lentini SS194. From here, follow the directions toward Ragusa on the SS514.
From Syracuse: take motorway A18 and then exit on the SS115 highway.
From Agrigento / Gela: along the SS115 highway.
Catania-Fontanarossa International Airport – approx. 99 km from Ragusa
Connections: Etna Trasporti - Visit the Website
Comiso "Pio La Torre" Airport – approx. 23 km
Connections: Tumino Bus - Visit the Website
Tumino Bus: connects Ragusa with Marina di Ragusa, Punta Secca, Kamarina and Castello di Donnafugata
Tel. 0932.623184 - 0932.651967
AST: connects Ragusa with Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Scicli, Noto, Siracusa, Avola, Rosolini, Ispica, Pozzallo, Donnalucata, Palermo, Gela, Acate, Pedalino, Chiaramonte, Pachino
Tel. 0932 681818 - 0932 752538
Etna Trasporti: connects Ragusa with Marina di Ragusa and Catania
Tel. +39 331.6877678 - 095.530396
SAIS Trasporti: connects Ragusa with other italian regions.
The Ragusa trainstation is located on the Siracusa- Gela- Canicattì railway and connects Ragusa to the main sicilian provinces.
To find trains to Ragusa Visit the website of Trenitalia
Following the terrible earthquake of 1693 that devastated the city, the bitter conflict that opposed the parish of Saint George with that of St. John the Baptist concluded with the founding of a new city on the slopes of the Patro. The aristocracy and the clergy remained in the old city centre, Ibla, which was rebuilt in late Baroque style (today acknowledged as UNESCO world heritage), while the leaders of the parish church of St. George moved to the new area of Ragusa Superiore.
There are fifty churches and numerous historical monuments in the District of Ibla. It also has fourteen of the eighteen monuments included on the UNESCO World Heritage list, namely:
Duomo di S. Giorgio (Dome/Cathedral of St. George), highest expression of Hyblaean Baroque,
Chiesa S. Maria delle Scale (Church of St. Mary of the Stairs)
Chiesa S. Maria dell'Idria (Church of S. Mary of Idria)
Chiesa SS anime del purgatorio (Church of the Holy Souls in Purgatory)
Chiesa di S. Maria dei Miracoli, Chiesa S. Giuseppe (Churches of St. Mary of the Miracles, St. Joseph)
Chiesa S. Filippo Neri (Church od St. Philip Neri)
Chiesa S. Maria del Gesù (Church of St. Mary of Jesus)
Palazzo della Cancelleria (Palace of the Chancellery)
Palazzo La Rocca (La Rocca Palace)
Palazzo Sortino Trono (Sortino Trono Palace)
Palazzo Battaglia (Battaglia Palace)
Palazzo Cosentini (Cosentini Palace)
Palazzo Bertini (Bertini Palace)
Palazzo Vescovile (The Bishop Palace)
Cattedrale di S. Giovanni Battista (Cathedral of St. John the Baptist)
Palazzo Zacco (Zacco Palace)
The Museo Archeologico Ibleo (Hyblaean Archaeological Museum) and the Museo Ibleo Arti e Tradizione Popolare (Hyblaean Arts and Folk Tradition Museum) are also remarkably interesting.
To make Ragusa and its territory even more famous was the Montalbano's television series that takes place right in this area: Ragusa Ibla is the imaginary Montelusa of the TV series and you can visit the neighbourhood its surroundings following the thematic itineraries related to the fiction series, discovering the places of Montalbano is proposed by the Tourism Department of the Province of Ragusa together with several tourism agencies. The main sites of the location in the old city centre are:
Piazza Pola (Pola Square)
Trattoria "La Rusticana" (restaurant), in Corso XXV Aprile
Duomo S.Giorgio (St. George’s Cathedral)
Chiesa S.Maria delle Scale (Church of St. Mary of the Stairs)
Don’t miss the Castle of Donnafugata, precious example of Baroque architecture, which is home to the fictional mob boss Balducci Sinagra.
Beaches and Surroundings
Ragusa is part of the Val di Noto (Noto Valley) along with seven other Baroque towns: Caltagirone, Militello in Val di Catania, Catania, Palazzolo, Noto (capital of Sicilian baroque) and the near Modica, its Castle of the Counts of Modica and Scicli.
In the municipality of Ragusa also comprises the Kamarina Archaeological Park, ancient colony of Syracuse that is very interesting from an archaeological point of view.
Marina di Ragusa, about twenty minutes from Ragusa, widely acclaimed for its shores and beaches, has a crystal clean sea (awarded with the blue flag in 2009) and a wide range of entertainment, fun and relaxation with its many nightclubs and restaurants and with the variety of activities offered throughout the year.
The other most popular beaches in the province of Ragusa are spread over the South-eastern coast of Sicily, from Pozzallo to Scoglitti. They are famous for the quality of the sea and the beauty of the landscapes as well as for dynamic tourist infrastructures that are environmentally friendly. Among the places with the most beautiful beaches, you will find:
Santa Maria di Focallo in Ispica
Scicli with Sampieri, Costa di Carro beach and the Riserva dell’Irminio (natural reserve)
Modica with Maganuco beach (ranked among the most beautiful beaches in Italy by Guida Blu 2014) and Marina di Modica
Punta Secca (where Montalbano’s residence is located)
Food and wine
Ragusa’s territory is rich in culinary speciality, both sweet and savoury dishes, often traditionally related to religious holidays.
Among the savoury dishes of the area, you can enjoy:
Impanate ragusane (breaded meats dish), typical Easter dish, stuffed with chicken, turkey or lamb. They are an enriched variant of the Scacce di Modica, stuffed with vegetables.
Turciniuna made with lamb offal, also typical of the Easter period.
Coniglio partuisa (rabbit), sweet and sour stew with olives, capers, parsnip, celery, sour cocoa and honey.
Cavati (ravioli pasta) made with ricotta served with pork gravy.
Typical local pastry you just cannot miss:
Affuca parrini, biscuits made with aniseed.
Nucatoli, soft cookies made with a mixture of dried figs, candied fruit, honey, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and cedar preserves.
Mpanatigghi are a typical treat of Modica. They are crescent-shaped breaded biscuits, stuffed with a mixture of almonds, walnuts, chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and beef.
Wine lovers can enjoy and savour the following typical wines of this territory: Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Ambrato di Comiso, Albanello and Nero D’Avola.