Ragusa (Italian: [raˈɡuːza], listen (help·info);
Sicilian: Rausa; Latin: Ragusia) is a city and comune in southern
Italy. It is the capital of the province of Ragusa, on the island of
Sicily, with 73,288 inhabitants in 2016. It is built on a wide
limestone hill between two deep valleys, Cava San Leonardo and Cava
Santa Domenica. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto,
it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3 Main sights
3.1 Upper Town
3.2 Ragusa Ibla
6 International relations
6.1 Twin towns — sister cities
7 Notable residents
9 External links
The origins of Ragusa can be traced back to the 2nd millennium BC,
when there were several
Sicel settlements in the area. The current
Ragusa Ibla has been identified as Hybla Heraea.
The ancient city, located on a 300-metre (980 ft)-high hill, came
into contact with nearby Greek colonies, and grew thanks to the nearby
port of Camerina. Following a short period of Carthaginian rule, it
fell into the hands of the ancient Romans and the Byzantines, who
fortified the city and built a large castle. Ragusa was occupied by
the Arabs in 848 AD, remaining under their rule until the 11th
century, when the
Normans conquered it. Selected as County seat, its
first Count was Geoffrey, son of Count Ruggero of Sicily.
Thereafter Ragusa's history followed the events of the Kingdom of
Sicily, created in the first half of the twelfth century. A
Chiaramonte family fief, it remained the county capital after it was
Modica in 1296, a status it lost in the 15th century
after a popular revolt.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some
5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely
rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city.
Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former
district of Patro, calling this new municipality "Ragusa Superiore"
(Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city "Ragusa Inferiore" (Lower Ragusa).
The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused
together to become a provincial capital in 1927 at the expense of
Modica, the former capital and the most populous and important city in
the region since 1296.
In 1838 an asphalt deposit was discovered, which is still being
Ragusa is a hilltown that lies below the Hyblaean Mountains, and is
historically divided into
Ragusa Ibla and Ragusa Superiore. The
municipality borders with
Chiaramonte Gulfi, Comiso, Giarratana,
Modica, Monterosso Almo,
Rosolini (SR), Santa Croce Camerina, Scicli
and Vittoria. It counts the hamlets (frazioni) of Marina di Ragusa,
located by the sea, and San Giacomo Bellocozzo.
The city has two distinct areas, the lower and older town of Ragusa
Ibla, and the higher Ragusa Superiore (Upper Town). The two halves are
separated by the Valle dei Ponti, a deep ravine crossed by four
bridges, The most noteworthy of which is the eighteenth-century Ponte
Ragusa Cathedral, dedicated to Saint
John the Baptist
John the Baptist (San Giovanni
Battista), is the biggest attraction in Ragusa Superiore. The church
was originally located in the western part of ancient Ragusa, under
the walls of the Mediaeval castle, where the small church of St.
Agnese is today. A smaller building was quickly built on the site
after the 1693 earthquake, which soon proved inadequate. The current
edifice was built between 1718 and 1778, with a façade in typical
southern Sicilian Baroque style, with three portals and sculptures
representing the Madonna,
St. John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist and St. John the
Evangelist. The upper columns have two clocks showing the time in
Italian and French fashions respectively. The high bell tower, on the
left side, is also in Baroque style.
The ornate Baroque interior has a
Latin cross plan, with a nave and
two aisles separated by three colonnades embellished with gold. Charts
showing Bible verses referring to
St. John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist are over every
column. The dome was built in 1783, and covered with copper sheets
during the 20th century. The side chapels, characterized by altars
decorated with polychrome marbles, date from the 19th century.
Also noteworthy is the Hyblean Archaeological Museum, with different
sections devoted to archaeological finds from the Prehistoric to the
Late Roman era.
Ragusa Ibla is home to a wide array of Baroque architecture, including
several stunning palaces and churches.
The Cathedral of San Giorgio started in 1738 by architect Rosario
Gagliardi, in place of the temple destroyed by the 1693 earthquake,
and of which is the only place in the city a Catalan-Gothic style
portal can still be seen. The façade contains a flight of 250 steps
and massive ornate columns, as well as statues of saints and decorated
portals. The interior has a
Latin cross plan, with a nave and two
aisles ending in half-circular apses. It is topped by a large
Neoclassical dome built in 1820.
On a narrow winding street connecting
Ragusa Ibla with Ragusa
Superiore lies the church of
Santa Maria delle Scale
Santa Maria delle Scale ("Saint Mary of
the Steps", built between the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries).
This church is particularly interesting: badly damaged in the
earthquake of 1693, half of this church was rebuilt in Baroque style,
while the surviving half was kept in the original Gothic style
(including the three Catalan-style portals in the right aisle). The
last chapel of the latter has a Renaissance portal. The chapels are
adorned with canvases by Sicilian painters of the 18th century.
Church of the Souls of the Purgatory has a Baroque portal.
Church of Santa Maria dell'Itria, built by the Knights of
Malta in the
seventeenth century, has a campanile with ceramics from Caltagirone
and a canvas attributed to Mattia Preti.
San Filippo Neri
The church of San Giorgio, designed by
Rosario Gagliardi and built
between 1739–1775, has a façade with tiers of juxtaposed columns.
The Treasury contains silver items. Similar though smaller is the
nearby church of St. Joseph, with an elliptic interior housing a
The church of Sant'Antonino is an example of Norman architecture,
characterized by a Gothic portal, while the Church of Immacolata
boasts a fine fourteenth-century portal.
San Giorgio Vecchio boasts a façade with a notable Gothic-Catalan
portal, with a high lunette portraying
St. George Killing the Dragon,
and Aragonese eagles.
The Hyblean Garden offers a good view to the three churches of the
Cappuccini Vecchi, St. James (fourteenth century) and San Domenico.
The Zacco Palace, a Baroque building, has Corinthian columns support
balconies of wrought iron work, caryatids and grotesques.
Villa Zinna country estate.
Ragusa has two railway stations, Ragusa and Ragusa Ibla, on the
Canicattì-Gela-Syracuse line. Two other stations serve the localities
of Donnafugata and Genisi.
The town will be served by the planned extension, from
Gela, of the A18 motorway. The new exit of Ragusa will be located
between the town and Marina di Ragusa.
The 18th-century interior of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
Cathedral of San Giorgio in Ragusa Ibla.
The Church of the Souls of Purgatory, one of the Baroque edifices
built after the 1693 earthquake.
Decorative Baroque façade of San Giuseppe church in Ragusa Ibla.
Cathedral of San Giorgio in Ragusa Ibla.
Interior of San Giorgio.
Twin towns — sister cities
Little Rock, USA
Oise (department), France
Much of the filming of the Inspector Montalbano series is done in
Ragusa, which has contributed to the rise of tourism in recent
Maria Paternò Arezzo
Maria Paternò Arezzo (1869–1908), noblewoman and
Loredana Cannata (1975–), actress
Maria Occhipinti (1921–1996), anarcha-feminist.
^ a b (in Italian) Source: Istat 2016
^ 39162 (x a j h) Ragusa on OpenStreetMap
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Ragusa travel guide from Wikivoyage
Official city website (in Italian)
Photos of Ragusa on Wondersofsicily.com
Sicily · Comuni of the Province of Ragusa
Santa Croce Camerina
World Heritage Sites in Italy
Mantua and Sabbioneta
Monte San Giorgio1
Porto Venere, Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, Cinque Terre
Monterosso al Mare
Residences of the Royal House of Savoy
Castle of Moncalieri
Castle of Racconigi
Castle of Rivoli
Castello del Valentino
Royal Palace of Turin
Palazzo Madama, Turin
Palace of Venaria
Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi
Villa della Regina
Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes1
Rock Drawings in Valcamonica
Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy
Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan
Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-
Roero and Monferrato
Torre della Ghirlandina
Torre della Ghirlandina and Piazza Grande, Modena
Orto botanico di Padova
City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto
Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi
Etruscan Necropolises of
Cerveteri and Tarquinia
Piazza del Duomo, Pisa
Castel del Monte, Apulia
Vallo di Diano
Vallo di Diano National Park,
Paestum and Velia, Certosa
Oplontis and Villa Poppaea
Palace of Caserta,
Aqueduct of Vanvitelli
Aqueduct of Vanvitelli and
San Leucio Complex
Sassi di Matera
Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale
Archaeological Area of Agrigento
Syracuse and Necropolis of Pantalica
Val di Noto
Militello in Val di Catania
Villa Romana del Casale
Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568–774 A.D.)
Cividale del Friuli
Temple of Clitumnus
Temple of Clitumnus located at Campello sul Clitunno
Santa Sofia located at Benevento
Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo
Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo located at Monte Sant'Angelo
Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps3
Primeval Beech Forests of Europe4
Venetian Works of Defence between 15th and 17th centuries5
Peschiera del Garda
1 Shared with Switzerland
2 Shared with the Holy See
3 Shared with Austria, France, Germany, Slovenia, and Switzerland
4 Shared with Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany,
Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Spain and Ukraine
5 Shared with
Croatia and Montenegro