Travel and Culture in Sicily
Ragusa is subdivided into two centres that are connected to each other by two roads and by 250 steps, from which you can admire Santa Maria delle Scale Church. This church was built in one of the most panoramic points of the hill that overlooks Ibla, the oldest centre that is also a watershed between the most ancient part, Ibla, as we said above, and the modern part.
In the modern part of the town you can visit St John’s Cathedral, a Baroque building with remarkable works of art inside and the church of Maria Addolorata College. You can also find some Baroque houses, as Zacco Palace and Bertini Palace, which are both decorated with the typical grotesque masks placed under the balconies or built in the windows’ keystones, that represent some characters or some particular life themes.
Santa Maria delle Scale, the church that we have already mentioned, is one of the oldest buildings in Ragusa that probably dates back to the Norman period. Going on towards Ibla you can see some remakable works: the Cancelleria Palace and Idria Church, at the back, that was built in 1626 on the ruins of an ancient Byzantine church. The other Baroque building that you meet is Cosentini Palace, which is also decorated with the characteristic medallions.
In the same district, called ‘degli Archi’, you can admire the Purgatory Church, with a spectacular front and Sortino-Trono Palace. Going on towards the heart of Ibla you can meet La Rocca Palace, whose balconies are embellished by magnificent Baroque medallions. The most representative temple of the town is St George’s Duomo, one of the masterpieces of the Sicilian Baroque style, an eighteenth century work that was built according to a plan by architect Gagliardi. The Duomo overlooks the homonymous
square in an extremely harmonious way and it is side by side to exclusive houses in neoclassic style which all date back to the period before the earthquake. The most important house is Donnafugata Palace. Ibla offers to the visitor the possibility to walk along medieval lanes and to appreciate many beautiful churches, as St Joseph’s, St Thomas’, St James’ and the Cappuccini church (these last ones are situated in the iblei gardens).
Inside the Cappuccini Church you can admire the triptych by Pietro Novelli, one of the painting masterpieces of the province. Next to the iblei gardens you can see the portal of the ancient St George’s church in Gothic style, that was destoyed during the earthquake in 1693.
By Ibla Italian Language School, Ragusa