Travel and Culture in Sicily
Ragusa has got ancient origins, since it was born on the ruins of the Siculian Hybla Heraia, founded in 1350 B.C. The ancient town, that was situated on a hill at an altitude of about 300 m, had constant contacts with the Greeks and, above all, with Siracusa (the most important Greek town in Sicily).
Ibla Erea passed under the Romans’ dominion and its name became Latinized and turned in Ereusium, until it became, with the Arabian term, Rakusa and then Ragusa. The Roman domination was followed by several rules: the Byzantine one (848), the Norman one (1091), the Swabian and then the Aragonese ones. In 1693, under the rule of count Gaspare Henriquez, a terrible earthquake completely destroyed some towns in Sicily, among which Ragusa as well, that counted about 5.000 dead.
In consequence of the earthquake some inhabitants of Ragusa (who were representatives of the new middle-class) preferred to reconstruct the town in Patro district, while most part of the old nobility preferred to rebuild Ibla in the same place as before. Social differences and different interests made the two Ragusa have separate administrations until 1926, when the two municipalities were reunified in a single one, that became chief town of the province.
Today they still celebrate the two different town’s patron saints: St George in Ibla (on the last Sunday of May) St John in Ragusa Superiore (on 29th August).
By Ibla Italian Language School, Ragusa