A tour in Ragusa and Ragusa Ibla: where our food traditions are coming from.

Cathedral_Ragusa_Ibla - Sicilly - Italy

Ragusa Ibla – Sicily – Italy

The southernmost of the Italian provinces is sitting perched gently on the Iblei Mountains. divided into two cities: the higher core interest, real historical center, lies on top of a hill, it is the Ibla Hill, overlooking a valley covered with lush vegetation, about 400 meters above sea level, in the area east of Ragusa, Ibla rises, rare gem set in the beautiful Val di Noto.

‘Iusu’, as the locals call it, is opposed to the modern city that is ‘above’, constitutes the Baroque soul of Ragusa, whose charm and the history of which UNESCO wanted to capture proclaiming it a World Heritage Site. The spectacular nature of the place has not escaped the many film directors who have turned the area into a genuine open-air set. These include for example the Taviani brothers and Giuseppe Tornatore and how to forget the many episodes of the famous Inspector Montalbano filmed in the city by the director Alberto Sironi.

It was founded and inhabited since the time of the Sicilians, but the earthquake of 1693 completely razed to the ground. It was rebuilt by the citizens who had, on the same medieval urban layout, making the substantial baroque changes.

But the whole hill offers impressive corners, the Church of St. Joseph, St. Dominic and St. James Palace and Palace Arezzo La Rocca, the Conversation Club and towards the downside the superb Gothic portal of St. George, a survivor of earthquake; son of the same, however, the delicious Garden Ibleo. Miss even the greedy granite bar that will serve you and do not forget to taste the local cheeses that are having so much echo in the world.

Ibla today is splendid with its churches and with many palaces in the late Baroque style and is one of the best preserved eighteenth-century architecture in Sicily. The reconstruction has involved the most famous architects and Sicilian artists of the time, including the figure of the famous Rosario Gagliardi, a native Sicilian architect of Syracuse, indicated in recent years as one of the greatest sacred baroque Sicilian architecture expressions.

Gagliardi has shaped masterfully local stone bringing out scrolls, columns and capitals, statues and architectural compositions, among which is the Cathedral of St. George, certainly the most important monument and more beautiful city.

ragusa Ibla Cathedral of St George by night - Sicily - Italy
Ragusa Ibla Cathedral of St George by night – Sicily – Italy

Mini tour of Ragusa Ibla

ragusa_ibla_itria_NMini tour through the city – Our trip to Ragusa Ibla starts from the lower part of Corso Italia that leads directly to the Post Office Square where you can admire the City Hall (1880) with its large richly frescoed halls and, on ‘ other side of the square, the imposing Palazzo delle Poste (1930), with its culminating columns with special statuary complex.

Going down Corso Italia we find the splendid Palazzo Zacco, the mammoth Ponte Giovanni XXIII, opened in 1964, and Palazzo Bertini, with its three characteristic masks on the windows. Here ends Corso Italia and begin Via XXIV Maggio and Via Mazzini leading directly to our destination, Ragusa Ibla, also known as old Ragusa. At the beginning of Via Mazzini is known sacred newspaper kiosk, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, carved of the cholera epidemic at that struck the area in 1837 and made many victims.

Now opens an artistic setting of rare beauty that begins with the vision of the dome of St. George and continues with the Church of Santa Maria delle Scale, rebuilt after the earthquake.

Going up the stairs leading to ‘main entrance of the church we can stop to enjoy the immense panorama that opens on Ibla from the terrace in front of the church. Continuing to Piazza della Repubblica we find the church of Santa Maria of Itria, built in 1639 by the order of the Knights of Malta, whose interior is richly decorated.

Among the most beautiful monuments of the historic center, fairytale, stands Cosentini Palace, built in 700 which is also in the Baroque style, characterized by elegant balconies decorated with allegories and masks. Still in Republic Square is the Church of Purgatory, which stands on a steep staircase and preserves paintings of considerable interest: the high altar the souls in Purgatory by Francesco Manno, the side altars, Our Lady of the Rosary of Antonino Manno, the Holy Family Thomas Pollaci.

Ragusa ibla Church of Purgatory - Sicily, Italy
Ragusa ibla Church of Purgatory – Sicily, Italy

Ragusa Garden

Splendid well also the Garden Ibleo which is characterized by the interesting coexistence of a botanical heritage of remarkable scientific importance, a museum and the remains of walls and floors before the earthquake of 1693. In the garden we also find, three churches: the first of San Domenico, built in 1569, the church of San Giacomo (XIV sec.) and the Capuchin Church together with the convent, which houses a precious triptych by Pietro Novelli with Assunta, St. Agatha and St. Agnes, certainly the most valuable painting in the whole province.

Leaving the garden and climbing from Via 25 Aprile we arrive in Piazza Pola which houses the Church of St. Joseph, certainly the school of Gagliardi. Continuing we finally arrive in Piazza Duomo with the splendid Cathedral of St. George, built between 1744 and 1775, where once stood the church of San Nicola, after the earthquake, which caused the collapse of the marvelous temple built by the Chiaramonte in the fourteenth century. The Cathedral is nestled at the end of a high staircase and has a majestic appearance also because of its angled to the square below that accentuates the grandeur.

Garden Ibleo Ragusa Ibla - Sicily, Italy
A corner of Garden Ibleo Ragusa Ibla – Sicily, Italy

Instead the part located plateau, it is called Ragusa superiore and it is the commercial part of the city, between Via Roma and Corso Italia there is the Cathedral of St. John.

Cathedral of St. John_san-giovanni-battista_Ragusa - Sicily, Italy
Cathedral of St. John – Ragusa – Sicily, Italy

This is where our italian food traditions are coming from.

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