Travel and Culture in Sicily
Ragusa was born and developed as a mainly agricultural town, but it shows big potentialities in the touristic, industrial and commercial fields. From the historical point of view the economic development of Ragusa is principally due to the splitting up of the feuds (emphyteusis) and to the birth of the middle classes, the "massari", farmers who had become owners and growers of the assigned lands.
The building of the typical dry-stone walls has its origin from this splitting up of the land; these walls were used to, and nowadays are still used, to mark the boundaries of the properties and, sometimes, to contain the lands, by creating some terracings that were suitable for ploughing and sowing. Pulses and fodder are grown in the countryside near Ragusa. The fodder production and the meadows for pasturing are useful for the breeding of horses, pigs, poultry and cattle; this local bovine meat is excellent and the milk allows the production of the DOP cheese.
From Ragusa quarries they mine the asphaltic stone and this caused the industrial development of firms that mine the pitch stone and work it. In fact, the territory around Ragusa is not bare: the Mediterranean scrub is present in some tracts, while other ones are rich in fruit-bearing plants, as carobs, olive trees, almond trees, oranges and vines.
In particular, the picking and processing of carob has allowed the birth of many local firms that export the carob’s by-products (carob’s seed flour) all over the world for its application in the confectionery and pharmacological fields.
By Ibla Italian Language School, Ragusa