Ragusa Ibla

Top choice in Ragusa

Ragusa Ibla is a joy to wander, its labyrinthine lanes weaving through rock-grey palazzi to open onto beautiful, sun-drenched piazzas. It's easy to get lost but you can never go too far wrong, and sooner or later you'll end up at Piazza Duomo, Ragusa's sublime central square.

Facing the piazza, on Corso XXV Aprile, is Palazzo Arezzo di Trifiletti, built between the 17th and early 19th centuries. Guided tours of the aristocratic palace include its showpiece ballroom, graced with rare, late-18th-century Neapolitan majolica tiles and luminous 19th-century frescoes that have never needed touching up.

Opposite the palace, Via Novelli leads to the entrance of jewel-box Teatro Donnafugata, a 99-seat theatre that looks like a grand Italian opera house in miniature form. The theatre is a stop on the A Porte Aperte walking tour of Ragusa Ibla.

Via Novelli leads to Via Orfanotrofio, home to Cinabro Carrettieri, the colourful workshop of world-famous Sicilian cart craftsmen Biagio Castilletti and Damiano Rotella. The street continues south back to Corso XXV Aprile, where you're met by an eye-catching Gagliardi church, the elliptical Chiesa di San Giuseppe, its cupola graced by Sebastiano Lo Monaco's fresco Gloria di San Benedetto (Glory of St Benedict, 1793).

Further downhill, the street to the right of the entrance of the Giardino Ibleo harbours the Catalan Gothic portal of what was once the large Chiesa di San Giorgio Vecchio, now mostly ruined. The lunette features an interesting bas-relief of St George killing the dragon.

At the other end of Ragusa Ibla, the Chiesa delle Santissime Anime del Purgatorio is one of the few churches in town to have survived the great earthquake of 1693. Step inside to admire Francesco Manno's Anime in Purgatorio (Souls in Purgatory; 1800) at the main altar.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ragusa attractions

1. Palazzo Arezzo di Trifiletti

0.04 MILES

If you fancy snooping around the private digs of an aristocratic family, Domenico Arezzo offers guided tours of his family's palazzo, built between the…

2. Teatro Donnafugata

0.05 MILES

Built in the bassi (working-class abodes) of a noble family's palazzo, this jewel-box theatre looks like a grand Italian opera house in miniature form…

3. Duomo di San Giorgio

0.08 MILES

At the top end of the sloping Piazza Duomo is the town's pride and joy, the mid-18th-century cathedral with a magnificent neoclassical dome and stained…

4. Chiesa di San Giuseppe

0.09 MILES

Built between 1756 and 1796, this elegant church was commissioned by the wealthy Benedictine order. Inside, turn your gaze upward to appreciate Sebastiano…

5. Cinabro Carrettieri


Biagio Castilletti and Damiano Rotella are two of only a handful of master artisans still making carretti siciliani (traditional Sicilian carts) the…

6. Portale San Giorgio Vecchio

0.24 MILES

On the street to the right of the entrance of the Giardino Ibleo, eye up the Catalan Gothic portal of what was once the large Chiesa di San Giorgio…

7. Giardino Ibleo

0.25 MILES

At the eastern end of the old town is the Giardino Ibleo, a pleasant public garden laid out in the 19th century that is perfect for a picnic lunch.