Ragusa

Ragusa is located in the heart of Val di Noto, in the south east of Sicily, and is the chief town of the southernmost province of Italy. Immersed in a territory rich in natural and architectural beauties worth to visit, the city rises on the Hyblaean Mountains near the river Irminio, whose mouth is part of a nature reserve between Marina di Ragusa and Donnalucata.
The baroque architecture, remarkable for its fancy and rich features on vaults, columns, capitals and facades, represents the most widespread artistic style of the area of Ragusa, where it bloomed after the earthquake of 1693. The artistic and historic importance of the city ensured Ragusa being listed as UNESCO World Heritage in 2002.


Visiting Ragusa is also a good opportunity to try the local cuisine rich in typical products, such as the scacce and the provola ragusana cheese.
Spend your holidays in one of the most beautiful Sicilian cities and discover the filming locations of Inspector Montalbano, the detective tv series that made famous this corner of Sicily.




What to see in Ragusa

The earthquake that destroyed the entire south east of Sicily in 1693 forced the inhabitants of Ragusa to rebuild their city, giving it a brand new and suggestive aspect. Ragusa was then divided in two big districts, Ragusa Superiore and Ragusa Ibla, the last one being rebuilt on its previous medieval structure.
Ragusa Superiore represents instead the modern part of the city, also called “the city of the bridges” due to the presence of three picturesque bridges crossing a green valley.
Walk around and cross Ponte Vecchio, Ponte Nuovo and Ponte Giovanni XXIII (or Ponte San Vito), overlooking Cava di Santa Domenica, the valley beneath where you can spot paths, tiny rocky houses and hear the sound of a stream hidden in the vegetation.
Curious to find out more? If you are a nature lover, you can visit this naturalistic area rich in stone quarries and typical Mediterranean plants: we recommend to visit this area with a local guide or to go on an organized trekking.



Ragusa Ibla


Panoramic view of Ragusa Ibla
Ragusa Ibla - Panoramic view

In 2002 Ragusa became a UNESCO World Heritage City with other baroque towns of Val di Noto. Ragusa Ibla is actually its historic centre and encloses an extraordinary treasure, embodying its highest expression of beauty in the Cathedral of San Giorgio.
The wide street leading to the church is slightly uphill: through a wise perspective game, the cathedral appears in all its majesty, thanks to the big staircase preceding the entrance.
Worth a visit is the Giardino Ibleo, a public garden rich in plants typical of this area. Into this garden there is a panoramic terrace overlooking the wonderful green valley that surrounds the historic centre. From here, you can enjoy an enchanting panoramic view over the Hyblaean Mountains.
The maze of staircases, tiny streets, buildings and houses gives some unique panoramic viewpoints, especially from the staircase of Santa Maria delle Scale and from the former military district of Ragusa Ibla. The landscapes from this panoramic viewpoints are amazing, especially at sunset.
Ragusa has 18 UNESCO sites between Ragusa Ibla and Ragusa Superiore:

  • Cathedral of San Giovanni
  • Cathedral of San Giorgio
  • Church of S. Maria dell’Itria
  • Church of Santa Maria delle Scale
  • Church of S. Filippo Neri
  • Church of S. Francesco all'Immacolata
  • Church of Santissime Anime del Purgatorio
  • Church of S. Giuseppe
  • Church of S. Maria del Gesù
  • Church of S. Maria dei Miracoli
  • Palazzo Zacco
  • Palazzo Sortino-Trono
  • Palazzo Cosentini
  • Palazzo La Rocca
  • Palazzo Bertini
  • Palazzo della Cancelleria o Nicastro
  • Palazzo Battaglia
  • Palazzo Vescovile Schininà


  Read more about Ragusa Ibla



Museums

Do you want to find out more about the origins of Ragusa and its traditions?
If you are interested in the history and archaeology of this territory, which is important not only for its Baroque, but also for its Greek and Roman art, we recommend you to visit some museums of the city.

Ragusa - Via Natalelli dal Ponte
Ragusa - Via Natalelli from the bridge
The Museo Archeologico Ibleo is located in Ragusa in via Natalelli, on the first floor of Palazzo Mediterraneo. It preserves the findings discovered in the province of Ragusa, dating back from the Neolithic to the late-ancient age. For more information about opening hours and tickets, visit the website of Beni Culturali.
The archaeological site of Kamarina, located near Scoglitti, is one of the most important archaeological areas in Sicily. The ruins of the ancient colony of Kamarina are preserved in the Museo Archeologico Regionale di Camarina, next to the archaeological area.
In the end, the archaeological area of Caucana, showing the ruins of the late-ancient fishing village of Kaukana, is located along the provincial road between Punta Secca and Marina di Ragusa.



Things to see nearby

The province of Ragusa, located in the south east of Sicily, offers countless architectural and natural beauties.
Wide and golden sandy beaches, interrupted by cliffs, extends along the coast. Olive and carob trees surround old masserie (farmhouses) delimited by typical dry-stone walls in limestone rock.
The baroque towns of Val di Noto and UNESCO World Heritage of Modica and Scicli represent the artistic and cultural value of this province, rich in churches, monuments and archaeological sites.
History, art and tradition contribute in making this area one of the most renowned and appreciated tourist destinations in Sicily today.
The province of Ragusa boasts a remarkable artistic and cultural heritage thanks to the value of the baroque architecture. Also Ispica and Comiso, two pearls of Val di Noto and UNESCO World Heritage, offer several baroque monuments and churches.
The late baroque of this area, unique and different if compared to the European baroque, finds its origins in the mastery of capable local artisans, who carved the local limestone rock creating spectacular facades, furious and sneering faces, corbels, cherubs, masks and round balconies. An exuberant and grotesque architecture showing the high artistic, historic and cultural value of the province of Ragusa.
The countryside, rich in dry-stone walls, large extensions of olive, carob, almond trees and prickly pears, is an oasis of peace, a place where the typical Sicilian farmhouses marry with the surrounding natural environment, creating a harmonious and enchanting landscape. The limestone hills offer different rock formations, natural and artificial quarries, archaeological sites and natural paths ideal for trekking or cycling.
Among the archaeological and natural areas worth visiting, there is Parco Archeologico della Forza, located on the slopes of the hill on the top of which Ispica rises, and Cava d’Ispica, which is located between Ispica and Modica. These two areas shows the geologic and historic features of the territory of Ragusa, dating back to very ancient ages.
About 20 km from Ragusa there is the Donnafugata Castle, a wonderful and unique mansion of the nineteenth century with a garden rich in Mediterranean and exotic plants. It was the filming location of different movies and tv series, such as the famous “Inspector Montalbano”.
Take a relaxing break in the near seaside resort of Marina di Ragusa, about 20 km from Ragusa. Its promenade, the dockings of the tourist port and its golden sandy beaches are the perfect destination to have a walk by the sea or enjoy the sun of this corner of Sicily. Marina di Ragusa offers several restaurants and coffee bars where you can eat fresh fish and delicious ice-creams. It is a good alternative to the tour of the baroque towns, in order to enrich your holiday with something different and be cuddled by the mild marine breeze in spring or sunbathe in summer.



Ispica

Ispica
Ispica - Church of Ispica

Visit the old Spaccaforno, its ancient housing nucleus into Parco della Forza and the wonderful baroque churches. Did you know that a famous Italian comedy, “Divorzio all’italiana”, was filmed here in Ispica?

Comiso

Comiso - View
Comiso - View

Hometown of the Sicilian writer Gesualdo Bufalino, Comiso rises in a valley among the small Hyblaean Mountains, close to an international airport. A curious tip: here you can find one of the very few Buddhist pagodas in Europe.

Donnafugata Castle

Donnafugata Castle - View
Donnafugata Castle - View

An ancient and tragic legend of love hides in the rooms of this luxury castle of the nineteenth century. Find out the story and lose yourself into the maze of the gardens.

Marina di Ragusa

Marina di Ragusa
Marina di Ragusa

Discover one of the most popular Sicilian seaside resorts: swim in its blue waters, try a good ice-cream and enjoy the nightlife with music and much more.


What to see in Ragusa in one day

Among the monuments and churches to see in one day in Ragusa, do not miss some of the 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Most of them are in the historic centre of Ragusa Ibla, while others are in Ragusa Superiore.

Ragusa - San Giovanni Square
Ragusa - San Giovanni Square
Starting our tour from Piazza San Giovanni, you can see the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista, dating back between the seventeenth and the eighteenth century. Its facade, a magnificent example of baroque art, is divided into five parts by high columns and presents several sculptures and carvings. Just next to this church, in via Roma, there is Palazzo Vescovile, the biggest late-eighteenth century building of Ragusa. Proceeding then in Corso Italia, we reach Palazzo Bertini, whose facade shows three characters of the baroque culture: a begging, a noble and a merchant. The fourth and last UNESCO monument of Ragusa Superiore is Palazzo Zacco, headquarters of the Museo del Tempo Contadino, where you can see the tools of the local country tradition.
Keep following our route to discover the three bridges of Ragusa: Ponte Vecchio or Ponte dei Cappuccini, built in 1843, is the most ancient of the three and remembers the Roman bridges, due to the arches of its structure. The second one, Ponte Nuovo, was built in 1937 and leads to Piazza Libertà, while the third one, Ponte Giovanni XXIII, was built in 1964 and connects two districts: Quartiere del Carmine and Quartiere dei Cappuccini. Among the streets of these districts, you can see curious wall paintings on some buildings. It is worth having a walk through the streets of Ragusa to discover those examples of street art that enhance and give a touch of colour to the city.



What to do in Ragusa

Besides visiting Ragusa and its historic centre, we recommend you some events, feasts and shows that take place in different times of the year. Live Ragusa to the fullest means to take part in its folkloric traditions and cultural events that liven up this beautiful city.



Events and shows

Walking around the streets of Ragusa you will notice wall paintings on some buildings. These artworks are the result of an important street art event in Europe. The Festiwall is an artistic moment in which the walls of the city become big canvas ready to receive a touch of colour by famous international artists, such as Guido Van Helten and Sebastián Velasco. After various editions, Ragusa has become a very interesting outdoor museum.
Ragusa is an artistic and cultural city that will not disappoint theatre lovers: its theatres and cinemas offer interesting shows. Go to the website of Comune di Ragusa to check out the calendar of all the cultural events and shows.



Traditional Festivals and concerts

Even if the heart of the traditional feasts is Ragusa Ibla, Ragusa Superiore has also its patron saint, San Giovanni, to which the city dedicates great celebrations each year on 29th August.
The feast of San Giovanni is the most important religious and folkloric event of the city, together with the feast of San Giorgio in Ragusa Ibla. Taking part to this feast means to be immersed in the typical Sicilian union of sacred and profane, where in most cases the religious feast is linked to a riot of joy and local folklore. The procession of the saint, represented by a very ancient limestone statue of the first sixteenth century, is accompanied by the musical band throughout the streets of the city. The feast is enriched by a market of typical products, a great melting of scents and colours of the Hyblaean tradition, in addition to collateral events, exhibitions and parades of Sicilian carts.
If you come to Ragusa in winter, you have the possibility to hear the original sound of the ancient pipe organs of the baroque churches: the Festival Organistico takes places in November and December. The concerts take place in the most beautiful churches of Ragusa, such as the Church of Santissime Anime del Purgatorio, the Church Ecce Homo and the Church of Santa Maria dell’Itria.



Markets and food festivals

Come to Ragusa in August and “get drunk” with more than 100 artisanal beers, tasting the best of the Sicilian street food: this is possible with Birrocco! This event takes place in the historic centre of Ragusa Superiore and boasts the presence of international artists, as well as sensory laboratory and tastings. Enjoy a walk through the baroque streets of the centre, while tasting a good Italian beer with delicious typical dishes: a perfect match of “beer and tradition” to awake your senses!
The entrance is free, while the participation to the laboratories is possible upon reservation: for more information check out the Birrocco website.
Have a look round a local street market: every Wednesday in Contrada Selvaggio you will find all kinds of goods, from food to cloths.



What to do in the evening

If you are not tired yet, enjoy the nightlife in Ragusa.
Usually young people gathering in Piazza San Giovanni take sit on the stairs of the church parvis to drink a beer and chat. The Sicilian nightlife is outdoor, just dropping by a pub to another, unless it is too cold to stay outside. In this case you can “seek refuge” in one of the smart bars and restaurants to enjoy a happy hour with local products or have a good tea in a literary coffee shop. If you want to spend a relaxing and interesting evening, you cannot miss shows and concerts.
However, in summer the heart of the nightlife is in Marina di Ragusa. Here you can go wild with music, have a happy hour or a pizza and dance on the beach. The energy of this seaside resort, one of the most popular in Sicily, attracts lot of young people coming from the province and tourists from all over the world.



Where to eat in Ragusa

The Hyblaean territory offers a great variety of flavors and scents, dating back to a centennial culinary tradition. When you sit at the table in Sicily, the kitchen becomes an artwork to eat that you have the pleasure to taste. Accompany your holiday in Ragusa with an excellent traditional local dish in one of the many restaurants.



Restaurants, trattorias and pizzerias

  • La Taverna del Lupo: excellent trattoria with vintage interiors, where you can try simple dishes of the local tradition, as they are prepared in the houses of Ragusa.
    ▼ Piazza dei Cappuccini, 22, 97100 Ragusa
    ☎ +39 0932 1910550
  • Crescente: in this restaurant/cake shop, “the menu that changes with the seasons, following the map of local flavors, offers dishes that are also beautiful”.
    ▼ Via Fanfulla da Lodi, 5, 97100 Ragusa
    ☎ +39 0932 644963
  • La Perla: an excellent pizzeria where you can spend a beautiful evening with your family.
    ▼ Via Giuseppe di Vittorio, 24, 97100 Ragusa
    ☎ +39 0932 247990
  • Il Baglio: framed by the enchanting Hyblaean countryside, just outside the city gates, this elegant trattoria fuses tradition and innovation.
    ▼ C.da Selvaggio, 97100 Ragusa
    ☎ +39 0932 686430 / +39 320 3034582
    @ info@baglio.it


Ice-cream parlours, cake shops

  • Dolcé: one of the best cake shops of Ragusa, ideal to have a party to celebrate a special event.
    ▼ Via Piemonte, 9, 97100 Ragusa
    ☎ +39 0932 258712
    @ info@pasticceriadolce.com
  • Dolci d’Autore: a very good cake shop where tradition meets creativity and taste
    ▼ Via Monti Iblei, 21, 97100 Ragusa
    ☎ +39 0932 641552
    @ dolcidautore@libero.it
  • Pasticceria Di Pasquale: here you can find traditional pastries and excellent ice-creams.
    ▼ Corso Vittorio Veneto, 104, 97100 Ragusa
    ☎ +39 0932 624635
    @ info@pasticceriadipasquale.it


Beaches and beach clubs in Ragusa

Marina di Ragusa
Marina di Ragusa

The fine and golden sandy beaches, the shallow and blue waters gently sloping towards the open sea make the coast of Ragusa particularly suitable for families with children. And that’s not all: the several coffee bars, restaurants and beach clubs by the sea in Marina di Ragusa (link) liven up the city, which is very popular among young people and tourists. Marina di Ragusa is actually the beating heart of the Hyblaean summer nightlife and it is one of the most popular seaside resorts in Sicily.
The beaches of Ragusa are perfect for everybody. Those who love to chill out in quiet and silent areas will find a dream place in the Reserve of Randello , a beautiful natural area to enjoy a pristine sea.
For the fans of Inspector Montalbano, the beach of Punta Secca offers a tempting attraction: the home of the most famous Sicilian policeman in Italy is there waiting to be immortalized in a precious souvenir photo.



Where it is and how to get to Ragusa

Ragusa rises on a hilly area of the Hyblaean Mountains, about 500 m on the sea level, in the south east of Sicily. The eastern area of the city is marked by the river Irminio.


Find out how to get to Ragusa with the main means of transport:



By car

Since the connections by public transport are not good, the car is the best means to reach Ragusa from all areas of Sicily.
From Catania take the state road SS 194 and follow the direction to Syracuse. Then go towards Ragusa always keeping the SS 194.
From Palermo take the highway A 19 Palermo-Catania until Caltanissetta. From here continue on the SS 626 to Gela and then proceed along the SS 115 to Ragusa.
From Agrigento take the SS 115 to Caltanissetta in the direction to Ragusa.
From Syracuse take the SS 115 to Noto and Ragusa.



Parking areas

In the city centre of Ragusa Superiore there are mainly paying parking spaces marked by blue lines: they are in Corso Italia, Corso Vittorio Veneto, Via Roma, Via Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa and nearby areas. Here are some free and paying parking areas out of the city centre:


  • Free parking area Contrada Tribuna
  • Free parking area Tabuna (in front of the police station)
  • Paying parking area SiSosta “Palazzo dell'Aquila”
    Entrace: Corso Italia (in front of the town hall)
    Capacity: 250
    Hours: 24 hours
    www.sisosta.it - ☎ 0932 624478
  • Paying parking area SiSosta “Ponte Vecchio”
    Entrance: Via Gen. Dalla Chiesa
    Capacity: 100
    Hours: 24 hours
    www.sisosta.it - ☎ 0932 080361
  • Paying parking area SiSosta “Piazza del Popolo”
    Entrance: Piazza Del Popolo
    Capacity: 200
    Hours: 24 hours
    www.sisosta.it - ☎ 0932 651526
  • Paying parking area Via Ecce Homo
    Entrance: Via Ecce Homo 181
    Capacity: 50
    Hours: Mon-Fri 7,30-20,00; Sat 7,30 – 13,30; Sun closed
    ☎ 0932623655


Car rentals

If you land in one of the airports and want to rent a car to reach Ragusa, go to the following websites to find out more info:




To rent a car in Ragusa we suggest:




By bus

Ragusa is well connected by bus to the airports of eastern Sicily and to different nearby seaside resorts. The Bus Terminal is in via Zama n. 53, where urban and intercity lines stops. To reach Ragusa Superiore from Ragusa Ibla, take the urban buses n. 1, 11, and 33 (working days). Tickets can be purchased at any ticket office, stationery or authorized dealer.
From Catania Airport you can reach Ragusa by the Etna Trasporti line, while from Comiso Airport take the Tumino line. The same line links Ragusa to the nearest seaside villages: Marina di Ragusa, Casuzze, Caucana and Punta Secca. Moreover, Ragusa is connected to Modica, Scicli and Syracuse by the intercity AST line.



By train

The train station is located in Piazza Antionio Gramsci n. 2. Tickets can be purchased at the train station or on Trenitalia, where you can check out timetables and routes.



Airport

If you travel by plane, we recommend you to book a flight landing in Catania or Comiso, the nearest airports to Ragusa, from where you can easily reach the city by transfer or bus.
Travelling by bus is the cheapest option. To reach Ragusa from Catania Airport take the Etna Trasporti line from the Arrivals Terminal, where you can buy the ticket.
To get here from Comiso Airport take the Tumino line. The ticket can be purchased on the bus.
On the contrary, the airports of western Sicily, Trapani (300 km) and Palermo (250km), are far from Ragusa: it takes about 4 or 5 hours to get here by car because of the bad conditions of the roads. Unfortunately, there are almost no connections by public transport from Trapani and Palermo to Ragusa.
For more information about flights and airlines check out our page Sicily Airports.



Weather today and tomorrow in Ragusa

Are you travelling? Find out today and tomorrow’s weather forecast in Ragusa.
Ragusa offers a variegated territory and its climate is ideal for a holiday not only in summer. In spring and in autumn the mild climate of the south east of Sicily is ideal to spend relaxing holidays and enjoy the peace of low season. On the coast of Marina di Ragusa it is often possible to have a swim in the sea from May to late October. Even in winter months, especially in December, there are very beautiful mild and sunny days, when the temperature is around 15-18°C. In these days you can enjoy a pleasant walk along the promenade or eat a delicious winter ice-crem.
In high summer, the temperature can rise up to 40°C. However, the hilly area of Ragusa has a different climate than the coast. The temperatures are cold in winter and the period from October to March is also very rainy.



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