Ragusa Tourist Attractions
Provincial capitalEventsFeast of St George with costume procession (25th April); Feast of St John (27th and 29th August); Horse Show (September); Poetry Prize "Città di Ragusa" (September).LocationThe diocesan town of Ragusa is strung out from east to west on a crest of the Monti Iblei between the deeply-slashed valleys of the Torrente San Leonardo to the north and the Torrente Santa Domenica to the south. It consists of two parts, divided by a sunken valley: to the east is the deeper-lying Old Town of Ragusa Ibla, with its many nooks and crannies, while in the west lies Ragusa Superiore, founded in the 18th century, since when it has rapidly developed into the district where most of the people live and the town council and the cathedral are to be found. The population is made up mostly of farmers and mine workers, reflecting the main industries of viniculture and milk production on the one hand and crude oil extraction and asphalt mining on the other. The latter long ago took over from agriculture in importance. The mines and oil derricks are situated some 2km/1.25mi from the town.HistoryThe Siculan town of Hybla, near the present Lower Town of Ragusa, where ancient finds have recently come to light, came under the influence of Sicilian Greeks in the sixth c., who gave it its name of Hybla. Very little is known of its history under the Greeks and Romans, While quite a lot is known about two other settlements also named Hybla - on the site of the present-day Paternò and near Megara Hyblaea - this town is first mentioned in a sixth c. Byzantine source, by Stephen of Byzantium. This was because it was re-established in the Byzantine period, probably by settlers from Ragusa on the Dalmatian coast, now known as Dubrovnik. In memory of their old home town and also of the ancient Hybla they named the new town Ragusa Ibla. In 848 it was destroyed by the Arabs, and rebuilt by the Normans in the 11th and 12th centuries. Before it became part of Mädica in the 14th century the town was the capital of a county. In 1693 the great earthquake caused such damage that the decision was taken not to rebuild it on its original site, but instead to construct a new town on a high plateau to the west, where the New Town grew up in accordance with a rectangular plan. Since then the Old, Lower and Upper Towns all show marked Baroque influence.Trade and IndustryIn addition to agriculture, the basis of its economy since the 18th century has rested on the mining of asphalt and bitumen, sponsored by the feudal lords of the Enriquez family. However, it did not become really profitable until modern methods were employed in the 20th century. Recently crude oil has also been extracted in the area.
The Old Town of Ragusa is replete with buildings from the 18th C piazzas and some fine churches.
Map of Ragusa Attractions