Visiting Sicily – city of Ragusa and the Hyblaean (Iblei) Mountains

Lemons in Ibla Gardens, ©giopuo/Flickr

Lemons in Ibla Gardens, ©giopuo/Flickr

Ragusa city is located in the province of Ragusa about an hour away from Syracuse. It is a tranquil and peaceful town not much visited for it is located in a less visited parts of Sicily. However this region has several lovely clean and affordable beaches. If you want to get away from the crowds this side of Sicily is recommended for you. Ragusa cannot be considered a must-see location but if you happen to pass by make sure you visit its baroque style churches. Also not far from Ragusa you will find the scenic Hyblean Mountains with its highest peak of 986 meters. Experience a less charted territory of Sicily. Discover Ragusa and its surrounding region.

The tale of two towns

Actually the city of Ragusa is made of two towns which were united in 1926. The more ancient side is called lower Ragusa or Ragusa Ibla, but mostly it is referred to as Ibla. During the year of 1693 an earthquake severely damaged the city which was later rebuilt. The upper side of Ragusa is called Ragusa Superiore and it is considered the main part of the two combined settlements. This part and its churches of baroque and neo-classical styles were built during the early 18th century.

Cathedral at Ragusa Superiore, ©Ladypedina/Flickr

Cathedral at Ragusa Superiore, ©Ladypedina/Flickr

Ibla first was the home of the Sikels, later got inhabited by Greeks and then conquered by the Romans in 258 BC. The town started to decline and got worse with each following period. In 1091 Ragusa and the surrounding region has been consolidated by the Normans.

What to see in Ragusa

As it was mentioned Ragusa has several landmarks and sights worth seeing and visiting. Among them the most popular and known is the St. George Basilica with its curving stairs and majestic towers. The building was constructed by famous architect Rosario Gagliardo in 1738. The church is considered the architect’s baroque masterpiece. Next on the list of sights is San Giuseppe Church, also built in baroque style. After admiring the architecture visit Ibla Gardens and enjoy a stunning view of the surrounding valleys and mountains.

Lemons in Ibla Gardens, ©giopuo/Flickr

Lemons in Ibla Gardens, ©giopuo/Flickr

San Domenico Church is also a phenomenal building known for its bell-tower which is decorated with ceramic tiles. As you are in the neighborhood why not visit Cappucini Vecchi Church as well and admire the paintings hanging inside made by Pietro Novelli, a sicilian artist from the 16th century. In upper Ragusa the most popular and notable sights are the Church of Santa Maria delle Scale, the Cathedral of Ragusa and the Archeology Museum filled with several ancient artifacts.

Hyblaean Mountains

Neighboring the town of Ragusa you will find the Hyblean Mountains in other name the Iblei Mountains. The highest peak is called Mount Lauro. The mountains got their name after a Greek king called Hyblon who was a colonist and founded Megara Hyblea.

Mountains near Ragusa, ©eduardomineo/Flickr

Mountains near Ragusa, ©eduardomineo/Flickr

Another significant peak is Mount Casale with its 910 meters and Mount Arcibessi with 907 meters. The mountain range is generally covered with limestone and some volcanic substance as well. Stroll around in the woodland area or visit the Cava Ispica, a beautiful canyon.

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