Ibla (Ragusa)

Discover some of the most beautiful monuments of the Baroque Sicily. Live local celebrations of the Patroni (Saints of the town), or attend local & international art festivals.

IBLA (Ragusa)

Driving along the old road that skirts the Hyblean Hills, you round a wide bend and are greeted with a splendid view of the city perched on a hilltop.

A maze of glowing limestone streets of Baroque palazzi and churches clings to the hillside. Ibla has 14 Unesco World Heritage buildings in an area of less than one square kilometre.

At the centre of this compact city is the delightful, sloping, palm-adorned Piazza Duomo, dominated by the Cathedral of St George. Its curved, columned, luminous facade is one of the most attractive in the region. For a great view, climb the steps towards Upper Ragusa to the terrace of the Church of Santa Lucia and look back at the tiled rooftops, campanile, domes and facades of Ibla lit by the evening sun.

The story of Ragusa Ibla may be glimpsed in the sequence of its names. It was first called Ragusa Nera (Black Ragusa), remembering that it was an African settlement dated 25’000 BCE. Then after the rising of the sea, it became Ragusa Ibla after the mother of heaven and earth, known in Mediterranean cultures as Cybele. Much later, Greeks invaded and changed the town’s name to Ragusa Hera.

In 1693, after the famous earthquake, the town’s population was divided about where to rebuilt the town. The richer population, the aristocrats, built their new town on a different site, called now « Upper Ragusa », whereas the other half of the population decided to rebuilt it on its original site: a crest at the bottom of the gorge « Lower Ragusa », which returned to its name Ragusa Ibla.

Today Ibla is actively promoting its capacity to attract a wide range of tourists, from marathon runners to gourmet connaisseurs , to classical music lovers.

Some Highlights

  • Cave of the Trabacche
  • Palazzo Arezzo di Trefiletti
  • Church of Santa Maria dell’Itria
  • Church of San Giuseppe
  • The street festival “Ibla Buskers” in October
  • Palazzo Cosentini
  • Wine Tasting
  • In Vittoria, the great Jazz Festival in June
  • In Comiso, the very complete exhibition on the story of the “carretto siciliano”, the Sicilian handcart
Circolo Conversazione

This type of monument is widely spread in Sicily where there are many aristocratic families. The Ibla circolo was built in 1850 in a neo-classical style. Its aim was to have a place where to converse and spend time amicably in a secluded place far from the common people! It’s also known as the “Caffé of the Knights”, as a testimony for the noblemen who frequented it.

Duomo of San Giorgio

Initially, the church of San Giorgo was at the entrance of the town of Ibla. But after the earthquake of 1693 it was rebuilt more inside the town. From the first structure dating back to 1400 remains only the beautiful portal, in gothic-catalan style. The new Cathedral was finished in 1775, on a project by Rosario Gagliardi. In 1820 the dome was added to it, designed by Carmelo Cutrano. Amongst other beauties, you will discover a lovely organ dating back to 1881, with as many as 3’368 pipes!

Palazzo Zacco

This palace is of late baroque style. It’s located in Ragusa Superiore (the “new” Ragusa after 1693) and was built by the Baron Melfi in the second half of the XVIII century. It was then bought by the Zacco family and is now part of the public heritage of the town. It hosts the museum of Rural Life. Don’t miss on the 3rd floor the precious frescos on the ceilings. The external exhibits splendid balconies with underneath them masks of exceptional expressivity.

The choice of visits will depend on the season and the events taking place in Ragusa Ibla.

8 stunning days to discover the real Sicilian culture!

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