Ragusa Ibla, the island within an islandRagusa was classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 and is one of the most important cities of the arts in Italy due to its varied artistic and archeological riches, a legacy of its history which dates back several thousand years. The reconstruction after the earthquake in 1693 involved respected figures of the time such as Vaccarini, Palma, Ittar, Sinatra but, above all, the famous Rosario Gagliardi. These figures together with a considerable number of local sculptors and master masons contributed to the creation of a special and unique phenomenon: the Baroque of the Val di Noto. The city is adorned with local stone and spiral scrolls, with voids and filled spaces, with columns and capitals, with statues and with architectural compositions of which the Duomo di San Giorgio is probably the finest example. In 1693 a devastating earthquake destroyed nearly all of the city. Reconstruction took place in the 18th Century and divided the city into two large districts: Ragusa Superiore which was located on the plateau and Ragusa Ibla which was reconstructed according to the original medieval street plan on the ruins of the old city. The Ibla district is located above a hill at a height of about 450 metres. Its historic centre contains more than 50 churches and numerous mansions constructed in the baroque style. Its narrow streets rise and fall creating a maze of roads paved with stone which confer on the visitor an extraordinary appeal and a sense of being lost in time. In the alleys, bridges and small streets of this astounding corner of Sicily you will find a concentration of unique and extraordinary sensations which represent the fascination of Sicily and reveal the island's true spirit which today has been diluted to a certain extent almost everywhere else. Perhaps for this reason Ragusa has been described by illustrious scholars as "an island within an island" or "the other Sicily".
The evenings in Ragusa are pleasantly spent with its many elegant bars in which to sip a drink, excellent restaurants and trattorias, ice cream parlours and craft shops that sell local products. On summer evenings tourists fill the characteristic streets of the centre and the magnificent cathedral square, where the shops and bars stay open till late, making the city's atmosphere warm and welcoming.