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  • Writer's pictureThe Sicilian Wanderer

Ragusa: discover the beauty of Sicilian Baroque.

ragusa ibla

Located on the hills of southeastern Sicily, Ragusa is a charming city boasting breathtaking Baroque architecture, a captivating ambiance, and delectable cuisine. Rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake, many of its Baroque buildings and churches have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Start your exploration in Ragusa Ibla's historic center, renowned for its narrow streets and ornate palaces and churches. Visit the Church of San Giorgio, one of Ibla's most beautiful, and the 18th-century Duomo of San Giovanni Battista, a prime example of Sicilian Baroque. Beyond architecture, savor local delicacies like pasta alla Norma and Sicilian cannoli. History enthusiasts shouldn't miss the Casa Museo Salvatore Quasimodo, dedicated to the Nobel-winning poet. For a panoramic view, head to Ragusa Superiore's hill, overlooking the city and surrounding mountains.

Ragusan Baroque: This architectural style emerged after the 1693 earthquake that devastated eastern Sicily. Ragusa, heavily affected, underwent significant reconstruction, birthing a unique architectural style marked by intricate decoration. Ragusan Baroque is characterized by the use of local materials like limestone and tuff, and elaborate decorative details. Notable examples include the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista and the Church of San Giorgio in Ragusa Ibla. The 18th-century Palazzo Zacco showcases a limestone-decorated facade. Overall, Ragusan Baroque exudes elegance and grandeur, making Ragusa a must-visit for architecture and history enthusiasts.

Here are the main attractions in Ragusa with visiting hours.

  • Ragusa Ibla Historic Center: A maze of picturesque streets, Baroque palaces, and historic churches, it's the perfect spot for a stroll to admire local architecture. Open access at all times.

  • Church of San Giorgio: A stunning Baroque church nestled in the heart of Ragusa Ibla. Open daily from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

  • Duomo of San Giovanni Battista: A magnificent Baroque cathedral located in the upper part of the city. Open daily from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

  • Casa Museo Salvatore Quasimodo: The home of renowned Italian poet Salvatore Quasimodo, now a museum displaying personal items, photos, and documents. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Closed on Mondays.

  • Church of Santa Maria delle Scale: A historic church in Ragusa Ibla's center. Open daily from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

  • Donnafugata Castle: A medieval castle a short drive from Ragusa. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Closed on Mondays.

  • Giardino Ibleo: A beautiful garden in Ragusa Ibla's heart. Open daily from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.

  • Church of San Giuseppe: A Baroque church in Ragusa Ibla's center. Open daily from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

  • Ibleo Archaeological Museum: Showcases archaeological finds from the surrounding area, including ceramics, coins, and lithic objects. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Closed on Mondays.

  • Palazzo La Rocca: A Baroque palace hosting temporary and permanent art and culture exhibitions. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Closed on Mondays.

  • Ragusa Superiore: The city's modern part, located on the hill above Ragusa Ibla. Open access at all times.

Here are some attractions to visit near Ragusa:

  • Modica - Just a 20-minute drive from Ragusa, Modica is another Baroque town in Sicily, renowned for its artisanal chocolate.

  • Noto - Located about an hour's drive from Ragusa, Noto is another Sicilian Baroque town, boasting numerous churches, palaces, and historical monuments.

  • Syracuse - Just over an hour's drive from Ragusa, Syracuse is one of Sicily's oldest cities, with a historic center recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • Vendicari Nature Reserve - Located on Sicily's southeastern coast, about an hour's drive from Ragusa, Vendicari Nature Reserve is a protected area home to various bird species and other wildlife.

  • Marina di Ragusa - This seaside resort is on Sicily's southern coast, just a 30-minute drive from Ragusa. Here, you'll find beautiful sandy beaches, restaurants, bars, and other tourist attractions.

  • Scicli - About a 30-minute drive from Ragusa, Scicli is another Baroque town in Sicily, filled with churches, palaces, and historical monuments.

  • Cava d'Ispica - Located around 30 minutes from Ragusa, Cava d'Ispica is a natural gorge stretching about 13 kilometers, featuring numerous caves, tombs, and other archaeological sites.

The cuisine of Ragusa is influenced by Sicilian culinary traditions, offering rich and flavorful dishes that skillfully combine local ingredients with traditional recipes. Here are some specialties you must try when visiting Ragusa:

  • Pasta alla Norma - One of the most famous Sicilian specialties, Pasta alla Norma is a pasta dish topped with fried eggplants, tomatoes, basil, and salted ricotta cheese.

  • Arancini - A typical Sicilian dish, arancini are rice balls stuffed with meat, cheese, or other fillings, fried to a crisp.

  • Cannoli - Another iconic Sicilian treat, cannoli are pastries filled with sweet ricotta cream.

  • Scacce - Scacce are stuffed flatbreads with vegetables, cheese, and other fillings. They're perfect as a snack or light meal.

  • Panelle - Panelle are fried chickpea flour fritters, crispy and tasty. They're great as a snack or appetizer.

  • Artisanal Gelato - Ice cream making is an Italian tradition also found in Ragusa. You can savor local flavors like pistachio or almond.

  • Wines - The Ragusa region produces fine wines, including Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG and Nero d'Avola DOC.

These are just a few of the dishes and products you must taste during a visit to Ragusa. Ragusa's cuisine is rich and diverse, and there are many other dishes and specialties worth discovering!

ragusano dop

The renowned cheese

Ragusano DOP: Produced in the Ragusa region of Sicily, this cheese stands as one of the most emblematic representations of local cuisine. It was awarded the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) status in 1996, a testament to its storied history and quality.

Ragusano DOP is a stretched-curd cheese, meaning it undergoes a specific processing technique involving stretching the curd. It boasts a compact, elastic texture with a slightly spicy undertone, encased in a hard rind and molded into a cylindrical shape.

To produce Ragusano DOP, cow's milk is heated and mixed with rennet to produce curd. This curd is then cut into cubes and manually processed to achieve the stretched curd. Once the curd is stretched, it's hand-shaped into cylindrical forms, submerged in saltwater, and left to mature for at least four months.

Ragusano DOP is a versatile cheese, lending itself to a variety of culinary applications. It can be enjoyed on its own as an appetizer or incorporated into dishes like Pasta alla Norma, pizza, scacce, and many other recipes.

Ragusano DOP is a premium, high-quality cheese that embodies the culinary traditions and culture of the Ragusa region. For cheese enthusiasts, it's an unmissable treat to savor during a visit to Ragusa.


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