What to see in Ragusa and surroundings

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Among the destinations of southern Sicily Ragusa is certainly one of the most fascinating. Devastated by an earthquake at the end of the th century, the city was rebuilt even more beautiful than before in the two areas of Ragusa Superiore (on the plateau) and Ragusa Ibla (the oldest area, in the valley), and still retains some of the examples of the most important Sicilian Baroque of the island.


  1. St. John's Cathedral
  2. Cathedral of St. George
  3. Stairs of Ibla
  4. Ibleo Garden
  5. Palazzo Zacco
  6. What to see in the surroundings: 5 places of interest near Ragusa
  7. What to do in the evening: the most beautiful neighborhoods and clubs of the nightlife
  8. Plan your stay in Ragusa: tips + info on flights, hotels and tours
  9. User questions and comments

1 - St. John's Cathedral

The Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista is located in the upper part of Ragusa, and is the main religious building in the city. The current church was built in 1694 following the earthquake of the previous year which deeply damaged the previous church dedicated to the patron saint, which was located further west, near the medieval castle.
Today's church is raised above the square, and its churchyard is protected by a stone balustrade. It has a Latin cross plan and is distinguished by its majestic facade enriched by columns and three portals. Inside it houses a museum space that can be visited for a fee.

  • is located in the historic center of Ragusa Alta - Get directions
  • Opening time: every day from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00
  • Prices: free
  • Info and advice: the cathedral celebrates mass during opening and closing hours, avoid visiting during liturgical hours so as not to interfere with the celebration of worship

2 - Cathedral of San Giorgio

The Cathedral of San Giorgio originally stood in the eastern part of the city, on the opposite side from the Cathedral of San Giovanni. The Cathedral was also severely damaged by the seventeenth-century earthquake, and of the original fifteenth-century building only a large Gothic-Catalan portal remains.
The current building is a magnificent example of Sicilian Baroque and plays a lot on a perspective effect to appear imposing. The church is slightly oblique with respect to the orientation of the square, and is placed at the top of a flight of stairs to increase the effect of majesty. The pyramidal structure is surmounted at the top by a neoclassical dome.

  • is located in the center of Ragusa Ibla - Get directions
  • Opening time: from 10:00 to 12:30 (until 13:00 in summer time) and from 16:00 to 19:00
  • Prices: free
  • Info and advice: as this is a place of worship, appropriate and decent clothing is recommended even in summer. Flash photography is not allowed

3 - Stairs of Ibla

At sunset, when the sun is low and the air less hot, the ancient stairs are one of the most beautiful and panoramic pedestrian paths in the city. The stairs were originally the only connection between Ragusa Ibla, the old center, and the new city. Going down them you can see how the city has been set in the rock, admiring the winding alleys climbing steep paths between the houses leaning against each other.

  • the stairs bridge between the old and new city - Get directions
  • Opening time: always accessible
  • Prices: free
  • Info and advice: it is advisable to walk down the stairs from the new city towards Ibla. The route has 340 steps, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes

4 - Hyblean Garden

It is the oldest garden in Ragusa, characterized by its peculiar position overlooking a rock spur almost four hundred meters above sea level. The garden includes numerous palm trees and retains its nineteenth-century charm with stone vases and sculpted benches and an elegant limestone balcony. Inside there are the church of San Giacomo, the church of the Capuchins and that of San Vincenzo, while a war memorial has been erected in the center of the garden.

  • are located at the east end of Ragusa Ibla - Get directions
  • Opening time: always accessible
  • Prices: free
  • Info and advice: the gardens are close to one of the main entrances of Ragusa Ibla, but we advise you to visit them after the city to rest in the shade of its palm trees

5 - Palazzo Zacco

Located in the upper part of Ragusa, Palazzo Zacco is one of the most beautiful examples of Sicilian Baroque applied to civil architecture.
It was built in the second half of the th century for the baron Melfi and was then bought by the Zacco family, whose name it still bears today, at the end of the th century. However, the baron's coat of arms is still visible on one corner of the building as evidence of its noble origins.
The building has two façades, each of which overlooks three balconies, supported by mythological creatures and grotesque masks typical of the Baroque style.

  • it is 350 meters from the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista, and can be reached on foot from the city center - Get directions
  • Opening time: from 8:30 to 14:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00
  • Prices: free
  • Info and advice: the inside of the building houses the museum of Ragusan traditions, which we recommend you visit for a deeper knowledge of the city's history

What to see in the surroundings: 5 places of interest near Ragusa

  1. Donnafugata Castle: it is a noble residence of the late nineteenth century with neo-Gothic architecture and a sumptuous appearance. The castle is surrounded by a park with artificial caves and a white stone labyrinth. It is located in the hamlet of Donnafugata 15 km from the center of Ragusa, and can be reached by train from the city.
  2. Marina di Ragusa: it is a fraction of the municipality of Ragusa overlooking the sea and is the favorite place for summer tourists for holidays by the sea and for the nightlife. It is 25 km from the center, about 28 minutes by car.
  3. Trabacche cave: it is a Roman hypogeum made famous by an episode of Inspector Montalbano. The catacombs are divided into two rooms and are located just outside the center of Ragusa, 5 km from the city, in the countryside of the Pottino district.
  4. Modica: it is a town not far from Ragusa that will complete your itinerary in Baroque Sicily. It is famous throughout Italy for its excellent chocolate, to which a museum is also dedicated. It is about 16 km from Ragusa, and can be reached in 24 minutes by car.
  5. scicli: it is a small town with the features of a living nativity scene in Baroque style, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its wonderful architecture. It is 26 km from Ragusa, 38 minutes by car.

What to do in the evening: the most beautiful neighborhoods and clubs of the nightlife

Ragusa has a sufficiently varied nightlife to satisfy the most diverse tastes, from the fun of pubs to the elegance of wine bars. If, on the other hand, you prefer to stay up late with live music and colorful cocktails, just move along the coast to find discos and lounge bars on the beach in Marina di Ragusa.

The best clubs

  1. 7 track: is a wine and cocktail bar in Ragusa Ibla, one of the most popular thanks to its elegant and modern design. In summer, aperitifs are often accompanied by live music.
    Address: via Nino Martoglio - Get directions
    Phone: 0932-1882477 - Facebook page
  2. First class: just outside the historic center of Ragusa Alta, the First Class is a trendy place ideal for after dinner. In addition to live music and DJ sets, it also organizes cultural events out of the ordinary.
    Address: Via Ercolano - Get directions
    Telephone: 0932-652300
  3. Koala Maxi: is a huge nightclub absolutely unmissable for lovers of the genre. During the year it is open with three indoor dance floors, in addition to four outdoor ones in summer. It is located just before Marina di Ragusa, in Santa Croce Camerina.
    Address: Strada Provinciale 36, Santa Croce Camerina - Get directions
    Phone: 3355745609 - Facebook page
  4. HARD: it is one of the places to visit absolutely in one of your evenings in Marina di Ragusa: with a selection of over 40 types of rum and vodka, its cocktails are truly inimitable.
    Address: Via del Mare, Marina di Ragusa - Get directions
    Phone: 3279783459 - Facebook page
  5. Marina's Lounge Bar: ideal for an aperitif or an informal happy hour after a day at the beach, with live music or DJ sets.
    Address: Lungomare Mediterraneo, Marina di Ragusa - Get directions
    Phone: 0932-615246 - Facebook page

    Plan your stay in Ragusa: tips + info on flights, hotels and tours

    Ragusa is a much loved destination for its versatility: it offers the visitor an immersion in Sicilian history and Baroque, and is an excellent connection point to the sea and other towns of tourist interest. The average cost of a stay in Ragusa is quite low compared to the Sicilian average, making it an accessible destination for everyone.

    • Recommended period: the best time is in September. The temperatures are still summer and allow you to enjoy the sea at Marina di Ragusa, and the costs are lower than in July and August, as well as the influx of tourists.
    • Recommended for: Ragusa is a very versatile destination, suitable both for families who prefer relaxed holidays and for young people for the rich nightlife of Marina di Ragusa and the low prices of accommodation even in high season.
    • Hotel and b & b starting from € 43,00 per room -
    • How to get there and how to get around: the nearest airport is Catania Fontanarossa, which is about 100 km from the city (80 minutes by car, 100 by bus). The city center can be easily visited on foot, but it is advisable to use your own vehicle to get to the coast and the surrounding places of interest - compare flights to Catania (100 km) - from € 33,00

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