Ragusa is the capital of its province and today it is an active city with almost 70,000 inhabitants (2012). Since 2002 it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage with 18 buildings in Ragusa on the list.
In 848 and 853 Ragusa, in Byzantine possession, was briefly conquered by the Aghlabid. In 866 Emir Ibn Khafaja Soefijan had to break the siege after 15 months when the Byzantine admiral Niketas Oryphas succored the city with 100 ships. In 868 the city was finally captured by the Muslims.
In 1090 it came to the Norman Roger I of Sicily. His son Godfrey became the first Duke of Ragusa.
In 1693 Ragusa was hit by a terrible earthquake that destroyed most of the town. When the Ragusans had to decide where to rebuild their town, they split into two groups:
- The San Giorgians (the nobles) that stayed in Ibla rebuilt the old town (Ragusa Ibla) and the magnificent Duomo di San Giorgio.
- The working class that moved onto the new site of Ragusa and built the Cathedral of San Giovanni and the new city (Ragusa Superior). The old church of San Giorgio was badly damaged and most of its stones were used to build the new Duomo; only the Portal of the ancient church was spared by the earthquake and reconstruction.
Since 1927 these two parts form one community.
There is a project to convert the old railway-line running north past Chiaramonte Gulfi and to Vizzini (the track is already gone) into a bicycle-track.
From Catania take SS114 and turn for Lentini SS194. From there follow sign to Ragusa on the SS514.
From Siracusa take the motorway A18 and then the SS115.
From Agrigento/Gela follow the SS.115
There are busses from Syracuse, Catania, Modica, Vittoria, Marina di Ragusa, Noto, Palermo (4h, €12), and Rome (SAIS Trasporti). The bus terminal is in the new part of Ragusa in Via Zama. Bus companies operating from Ragusa can be found on the website of Etnatransport
It is possible to reach Ragusa by train, the central train station is in the new part of town in Piazza Gramsci. The old stations of Ragusa Ibla and Ragusa Genisi have been closed, and the station of Ragusa Donnafugata gets used to visit the Castle. On the train from Siracusa to Ragusa takes about 2 hours. Trenitalia
The nearest airport is in Catania (code:CTA) at 97km from Ragusa.
The Ragusa Comiso Airport (code:CIY) is 18km from town.
Palermo airport (code:PMO) is 274km from Ragusa.
At few kilometers from Ragusa is the Aviosurface Giubiliana (code:RGGIU).
The port of Marina di Ragusa is at 24km, but at the moment there aren't any schedule ferris. In the near future there should by an Hydrofoil-service connecting Marina di Ragusa to Malta.
Take bus no 1 or 3 to the Ibla. The last bus leaves the tourist office at 8.40pm. If you go there on foot do not follow the directions for cars but take the step streets down from Via Roma. In Ragusa there are 15 lines of local bus, mainly circular lines, run by AST (Azienda Siciliana Trasporti). You can buy bus tickets at Tobacco shops and News Agents.
There is a taxi station/office at the beginning of Ragusa Ibla in Piazza della Repubblica and there are taxis at the train station in the new Ragusa.
There is a plan to build a light metropolitan train system using the railway-line that runs in Ragusa. There will be 15 stops for 18 kilometers of Metropolitan line, running from the high-part of Ragusa through the citycentre and down to Ibla and to the University.
- Ibla, the old city is a spectacular mix of narrow streets, steep winding steps, old churches, and fantastic views.
- Duomo di San Giorgio, Piazza Duomo (West side of the square). The duomo is the hearth of Ibla. The cathedral has an imposing exterior staircase. It is a jewel of baroque architecture.
- Cathedral of San Giovanni, Piazza San Giovanni, Ragusa. Beautiful baroque church built 1706 - 1778.
- Old Portale di San Giorgio, Via Normanni, Ragusa Ibla. The Portale is the doorway in Gotic-Catalan style of the ancient church of San Giorgio dating to the XIV century.
- Giardini Iblei, Ragusa Ibla. Public Gardens, half in Italian style and half in English style with three medieval churches in the park and views over the valley of the Irminio.
- Archeological Zone, Via Giardino, Ragusa Ibla. Small archeological area with Hellenistic-Greek ruins dating to the IIIBC and Roman ruins dating IVAD.
- Church of Santa Maria dell'Itria, Via Scale. Ragusa Ibla. Church built in XIV century in the old Jewish quarter, belonged to the knights of Malta.
- Church of Santa Maria delle Scale, Ragusa Ibla. Church dating to the XIII century, inside it has three chapel/arches in late Gotic style.
- Church del Purgatorio, Piazza Repubblica, Ragusa Ibla. Church XVII with Baroque portal and Bizantine walls.
- Museo Archeologico Ibleo, Via Natalelli, Ragusa. Is divided in 6 sections. Prehystoric, Greek, Siculis arcaic, Hellenistic, Roman and collection.
- Palazzo Bertini, Ragusa Ibla. Baroque palace
- Porta Valter - South Gate, Via Valter, Ragusa Ibla. Ancient Gate part of the medieval walls.
- Castle of Donnafugata - Castello di Donnafugata, 12km out of town, Donnafugata, Ragusa. Castle/Palace with park.
- Archeological Park of Kamarina, SP.102, Ragusa. At 25km from Ragusa you can find the archeological park of the Greek city of Kamarina IV.BC and its Museum.
- Ponte Vecchio, Via Traspontino, Ragusa. Bridge also called of the 'Cappuccini'. Old bridge (1825) linking two parts of town with a series of arches.
- Marina di Ragusa - Beach. Fine sand, clear blue water and beach volleyball.
- Explore Ragusa Ibla. Medieval town, full of narrow streets and Baroque Churches and Palaces. Since 2002 it is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Festivals & Special Events
- Ibla Buskers, on the streets of Ragusa Ibla. Every year for one week in October the streets of Ibla get populated by street-artists from all over the world.
- Ibla Grand Prize. Musical-Piano competition with musicians from all over the world. Concerts in the Piazzas of Ibla. June - July.
- Melodica. Piano concerts in the churches of Ragusa. May till November.
- Festival Organistico.
- Estate Iblea, Ragusa and Marina di Ragusa.
- Festa di San Giovanni, Piazza San Giovanni, Ragusa.
- Festa di San Giorgio, Piazza Duomo, Ragusa Ibla.
- Maria SS di Porto Salvo, Marina di Ragusa. procession with the statue of the Virgin Mary sailing on a boat in front of Marina di Ragusa. August.
- The main are Via Roma and Corso Italia.
- For souvenirs and typical Sicilian products the Via XXV Aprile in Ragusa Ibla has many shops with all the gadgets you want to buy in Sicily and take back home.
Shopping centres. There are two in Ragusa:
- Centro Commerciale Ibleo - Ipercoop, Viale delle Americhe, SP.52, Ragusa. Shopping Centre
- Le Massarie, Via A Grandi, Ragusa. on the road for Marina di Ragusa. Shopping Centre
There is a market every day of the week (excluded Sundays) but it changes zone/quarter of Ragusa. The main Market is on Wednesdays next to the football stadium 'A. Campo' in Selvaggio quarter.
- Wednesdays, Contrada Selvaggio. Main market of Ragusa, next o the football stadium.
- Thursdays, Via A. De Gasperi.. Market, located off Viale Europa.
- Fridays, Piazza Tamanaco. Location: off Via Archimede.
- Saturdays, Via P.S. Mattarella.. Location: at the end of Viale Napoleone Colajanni.
- Ai Lumi Corso 25 Aprile, 16, +39 0932 621224. At the Doumo in Ibla. Good simple menu.
- Restaurant Il Duomo - Michelin-starred restaurant - incredible tasting menu
- La Bettola, Largo Camerina, Ragusa Ibla.
- Da Candida, Via Valverde 95, Ragusa Ibla. Good Sicilian cooking. Near the Old Portale of San Giorgio
- Cucina & Vino, Via Orfanotrofio, 91 Ragusa Ibla. Excellent budget restaurant. Sicilian cooking here.
- U Saracinu Ristorante, Via Convento, 9 Ragusa Ibla. Excellent restaurant
Most pubs are in Ragusa Ibla (old town) or in Marina di Ragusa (sea-town).
- The Jester Pub, Viale Europa, Ragusa. Great pub and live music. Open Sept - June
- Puglesi, Via Dante 94, +39 0932 686046. Bar at the bus stop, open late.
In Ragusa there are several hotels and many B&Bs. Out of town there is a good selection of agriturismi.
- B&B Il Giardino dei Sospiri, Via dei Sospiri, 24 (50 meters from the castle Chiaramonte), ☎ +39 0932 651418, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. €24- €40.
- B&B Palazzo Castro al Duomo, Piazza Duomo, 2 (Besides the stairs of Duomo di San Giorgio), ☎ +39 0932 621887, e-mail: email@example.com. €40- €60.
- Jonio Risorgimento 49, 50 m down from the station and bus stop. Old-fashioned but well-kept. E50 for a double room with bathroom and AC. Breakfast is a croissant and a coffee at the bar.
- Locanda Don Serafino, Via XI Febbrao, 15, ☎ +39 0932 220065, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10 rooms with AC, bathroom, TV, safe, in-room internet connections in mansion in Ibla. Also has a restaurant. €130 for a standard room.
- Terra del sole Ibla B&B, Corso Giuseppe Mazzini 218b, ☎ +39 3336821202, e-mail: email@example.com. Rooms with bathroom, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, beautiful view. Near Carabinieri station, with a few free parking spaces in front of the B&B; from Ragusa Superiore you can get onto bus n.11. €35.00 for standard room for 1 person, €55 for 2 people. Breakfast is included.
There is tourist information one block from the Duomo. They will give you a map of Ibla. It is not very accurate but necessary if you want to go outside the major roads.
Visit nearby Unesco World Heritage sites: