Situated in the southeastern corner of Sicily, Italy, the city of Ragusa is a picturesque destination that is too often overlooked by tourists. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ragusa boasts a rich history, stunning architecture, delectable cuisine, and a serene, relaxed atmosphere.
But the question lingers – is Ragusa, Sicily worth visiting? The unequivocal answer is yes! From its unique Baroque architecture to its undulating landscapes, Ragusa offers a taste of authentic Sicilian life. Let’s delve into the myriad of reasons why this captivating city should be next on your travel itinerary.
Ragusa Ibla and Ragusa Superiore: A Tale of Two Cities
Ragusa’s charm lies in its unique dual nature. Following a catastrophic earthquake in 1693, Ragusa was split into two parts: Ragusa Superiore, the new town built on the hilltop, and Ragusa Ibla, the old town reconstructed on the original site.
Each area offers its unique charm, thus providing visitors with two distinct experiences in one city.
Ragusa Superiore (Upper Ragusa) serves as the city’s modern hub, offering a lively atmosphere with bustling shops, markets, and cafes. Here, visit the imposing Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista, a perfect example of Sicilian Baroque architecture.
Ragusa Ibla, the old town, is a maze of winding streets, peppered with beautifully restored Baroque buildings and churches. Wander down the Corso XXV Aprile to the Piazza Duomo, home to the breathtaking Cathedral of San Giorgio, a masterpiece of Sicilian Baroque.
Wandering Through a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Being one of the towns in the Val di Noto listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ragusa is truly an open-air museum. The Baroque architecture that characterizes the city is testament to the grandeur of its past. As you stroll through Ragusa Ibla’s narrow, winding streets, take in the sights of the impressive palaces and over 50 churches, each one a work of art in its own right.
Look out for the Palazzo Bertini, with its beautifully carved balconies, and the Palazzo Zacco, considered one of the most beautiful Baroque palaces in Sicily.
The Sicilian Gastronomy
Food lovers rejoice! Ragusa offers an exceptional gastronomic experience. Sicilian cuisine, renowned for its rich flavors and fresh ingredients, is at its best in Ragusa. Enjoy a meal at one of the city’s top restaurants, such as Duomo, led by chef Ciccio Sultano, or try the local street food at the markets.
Don’t miss the chance to taste local specialties such as the renowned Ragusa Ibla chocolate or caciocavallo ragusano, a local cheese made according to an ancient tradition. The region is also known for its excellent wines, so be sure to indulge in a glass or two of the local Nero d’Avola.
A Gateway to Natural Wonders
Not only does Ragusa offer stunning urban scenery, but it also serves as a gateway to some of Sicily’s most captivating natural wonders. Take a trip to the Irminio River Nature Reserve, a haven for wildlife, or venture further afield to the *Cava Grande del Cassibile Natural Reserve*, home to a spectacular gorge carved over millennia by the Cassibile River.
In conclusion, is Ragusa, Sicily worth visiting? Absolutely! Its dual personality, captivating Baroque architecture, mouth-watering cuisine, and proximity to natural wonders make it a must-visit destination. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or a nature lover, Ragusa offers something for every traveler.
Experience the authenticity, charm, and beauty of Sicily in this remarkable city – you won’t regret it. So why wait? Start planning your trip to Ragusa today!
Here are the 10 best excursions in Sicily:
1. Palermo: Vintage Yacht Tour of the Gulf with Sicilian Brunch – Explore the Gulf of Palermo on a cruise aboard a vintage yacht. Stop at some of the most beautiful places along the coast, snorkel near Addaura, and enjoy a Sicilian brunch with wine on board.
2. From Trapani: Favignana and Levanzo Boat Trip with Lunch – Discover the Egadi Islands of Favignana and Levanzo on a boat tour from Trapani. Cruise along the coast, see creeks like Cala Rossa, explore the islands, swim in the sea, and enjoy lunch on board.
3. From Taormina: Sunset Coastline Boat Tour & Dolphin Watching – Explore the stunning bays of Isola Bella and marvel at the beautiful sights, including Cape Taormina and the Grotta delle Sirene. Stop for a snorkel in the crystal clear waters.
4. Taormina: Kayak Coastal Tour to Isola Bella and Blue Grotto – Discover the unique and colorful sights of eastern Sicily’s coast on a kayak tour in Taormina. Paddle to Isola Bella, the Blue Grotto, the Grotta degli Innamorati, and Fico Rock.
5. Taormina: Cannolo Cooking Class with Completion Certificate – Learn how to cook the traditional Sicilian dessert, the cannolo, during this cooking class in Taormina. See how to properly knead the dough and prepare the dish, and enjoy the cannolo for yourself.
6. From Trapani: Egadi Islands Favignana & Levanzo Cruise – Feel the true essence of the views and bays that characterize Favignana and Levanzo on a boat tour around the Aegadian Islands.
7. From Taormina: The Godfather Movie Tour of Sicily Villages – Discover the medieval castles, coastal villages, and Sicilian sites of Savoca & Forza D’Agrò that served as the backdrop to Godfather scenes with a guide.
8. From Trapani: Mini Cruise to Favignana and Levanzo – Visit two of the famous islands of the Aegadian, Favignana and Levanzo, at your own pace on this mini cruise from Trapani. Shop and explore the museums or relax on the majestic beaches,
and take a swim from the boat as you cruise the between Calas.
9. Mount Etna: Guided Volcano Summit Hiking Tour with Cable Car – Hike to the summit craters of Mount Etna up to the highest point allowed with a professional guide. Take a cable car up to your hiking point, and hike for 3.5 hours through this stunning scenery.
10. Syracuse: Ortigia Sunset Cruise with Aperitif – Explore the grottoes of Ortigia Island before marveling as the sun sets over crystalline waters on this private sunset cruise. Enjoy a platter of typical Sicilian produce with included prosecco.