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Are you planning a visit to the beautiful hilltop city of Ragusa in Sicily? If so, this is your guide to the top things to do in Ragusa.
Ragusa is a Sicilian city that is so rich in history that its paths are carved with old churches and historical monuments. Located on the hilltop in the Southeast Sicily, it is one of the most fascinating destinations in Sicily. Incredible sites and Baroque style architectures have credited the city to be a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 1693, this city witnessed a huge destruction due to an earthquake. But just like the rulers who have ruled these lands and left the pieces of evidence of it, the city rose from its ashes, like a phoenix and proved its worth to the world. Thousands of tourists visit parts of Ragusa in Sicily every year only to be left amazed.
First-time traveler to Sicily? Don’t miss out our top 11 best places to visit in Sicily.
Here are all the unmissable things to do in Ragusa for your getaway. Further below, as a bonus we have also mentioned a few good to know tips to help you plan your trip.
Best Things To Do In Ragusa, Sicily
1. Visit The Majestic Duomo di San Giorgio
One of the first things to do in Ragusa is visiting Duomo di San Giorgio. The churches of Italy are built differently. The huge walls and the Baroque style architecture of the churches are beautiful. The Duomo di San Giorgio is one of these wonderful creations in Ragusa. The main church of Ragusa is majestic in style, both from the inside and the outside. In the interior, the tall walls and the arched roof structure would leave you speechless. As per the time of your visit, the walls of the church inside in gold frescoed will shine golden and fill the church with a solar hue.
2. Trail The Streets of Ragusa Ibla (The Old City)
Next, you must head to the tourist hotspot, Ragusa Ibla. This part of Ragusa has a bundle of things to look forward to. The culture of the city and the many monuments spotted in different parts of the city from Ragusa Ibla can keep you busy and entertained. Take a leisurely walk down the Piazza della Repubblica to visit the lovely church, Chiesa delle Santissime Anime del Purgatorio. The public park of Giardino Ibleo with pretty views and old fountains in it is always available to welcome visitors. The park’s views and the flowers give a mystical feeling. The town has an archaeological museum which is a must-visit for all the visitors to know the history better.
For a more insightful experience, click here for a guided walking tour of Ragusa Ibla.
3. Marvel At The Santa Maria delle Scale (Church of St Mary of the Stairs)
Among the congregation of churches in Ragusa, there is Santa Maria delle Scale which was built by the Cistercian monks living here. It was built in the 13th century in a Gothic style. Considering most of the churches in Italy are Catholic, Santa Maria stands out in this way. The sunsets at Santa Maria church are magical. From the outside, it feels like a city of bricks but the architecture of the church on the mountain cannot be described in words. The Baroque architecture of the church was enlarged later in the 18th century and people who visit here generally define it as a spiritual experience. This cathedral is also one of the most religious buildings in the city.
4. Head Over To Castello di Donnafugata
The castle of Donnafugata if translated to “the castle of the woman who fled”, is a huge white building surrounded by greenery. The arched structure of the roof and huge walls of this castle has historical tales within them. It is the naturally whitewashed walls that attract visitors every now and then. The castle is huge and the well-preserved insides of the structure will leave you speechless for sure. You will find many rooms with intricate decorative, walls covered with murals, antique furniture and a collection of admirable costumes.
The use of the castle has been made by many people throughout history. Famously, it has been featured in many Italian TV series and movies.
5. Admire The Incredible Chiesa di San Giuseppe
Another church that needs a mention in the list of the best places in Ragusa is Chiesa di San Giuseppe. Not because of its baroque architecture which is a common phenomenon in this city but also because of its rich interiors. The construction of the church goes back to the 17th century. The interiors have been preserved ever since. The decorations and frescoes on the wall are similar to any other church and monument but the vast ceiling and huge walls with the golden altar are notably captivating.
6. Visit The Palazzo Arezzo Di Trifiletti
Palazzo Arezzo Di Trifiletti is a beautiful palace belonging to an aristocratic family. You can only visit this place if you have an advance booking because this is one of the favourite places for visitors and tourists and for all the right reasons. Domenico Arezzo provides guided tours of this magnificent palace. The palace actually belongs to his family and therefore there is no one better than him to offer you a tour through it. The ceilings of the palace are goldenly frescoed with sceneries carved here and there.
The walls are huge and you are going to visit the halls and the ballrooms where once the royalties partied and people danced along. The tales of the guests once received by the palace and fine wine offered by Mr. Arezzo with some refreshments would certainly make your day.
7. Relax Near The Banks Of Irminio
If you have fantasies like living beside a river along with the Italian countryside in a quaint place, Irminio in Ragusa is here to fill up your world. It is a river in the province of Ragusa and has beautiful lavender flowers on the bank of it. The real estate companies offer apartments on the bank of the river so that visitors can live and enjoy the surroundings as much as they can. Hiking programmes are also run by the companies here so you can book one for yourself. It is a natural surrounding rich in flora and fauna for that perfect getaway that you have been planning.
8. Experience Fine Dining At Unique Restaurants In Ragusa
One of the top things to do in Ragusa is to have a taste of the regional food. Below are the most popular restaurants you wouldn’t want to miss;
Ciccio Sultano Duomo
It is an exclusive restaurant by chef Ciccio Sultano who lives in Ragusa and is known for serving delicious dishes at the restaurant. He is one of the finest chef who brings out tradition and innovation together through the dishes he serves. The place offers specific fine wines to the customers and makes sure that they have the luxury of best of the best foods among the category of seafood and Sicilian food specifically.
Ristorante Locanda Don Serafino
If you love dining in the natural environment, this place has been designed to leave you speechless. The dining space in this restaurant has cave like interiors where the walls are thick and mostly off-white in colour. The dim lighting inside offers you a calm and warm feeling. This boutique restaurant fantastically compliments the gorgeous Baroque town of Ragusa, Sicily.
9. Spend Relaxing Time In Marina di Ragusa
Who can imagine what wonders this place contains? Located on the mountain top, Ragusa has a beach secret as well. Marina di Ragusa is that wonderful place where you can enjoy the beach in the Italian way. The place barely has any population.
However, the population rises during the summer months. It is a village and is also known by the name of Mazzarelli. The elite beach location, lining of the palm trees, beach and sea as far as your eyes can go. The holiday homes at Marina di Ragusa are luxury defined. The houses are mostly built with stones with sunlit locations and glass doors and windows for air ventilation. You can plan your stay there for a memorable time in Ragusa.
10. Italian Wine Tasting In The Baroque Town
One of the most unmissable things to do in Ragusa is going on a Sicilian Baroque Tour admiring the spectacular Baroque architectures and enjoying wine tasting. If you are missing the taste of Italian wine at the mountain top in Ragusa City, there are many Italian vineyards which are available in this town and you can visit to entertain your taste buds and give them the luxury of fresh Italian wine. The baroque town developed after the earthquake in Ragusa and the fertile soil gave enough space for the birthplace of some of the finest wines. Click here for this Sicilian Baroque Tour inclusive of wine tasting and gourmet food.
11. Enjoy Nightlife At Ragusa
The nightlife of Ragusa is mostly filled with delicious food and Italian tunes. However, there is one place that requires a mention and is mostly visited and appreciated by the tourists in this province. Prima Classe has a collection of desserts and cuisines that leaves the foodies asking for more. It has a facility for dine-in and takeaways. It has a bar, bakery goods, pastries and every variety that you want. The restaurant remains closed on Sundays. For the remaining week, the timings range from 07:00 am to 01:00 am. The timing for takeaways are from 08:00 am to 10:00 pm.
These were all the unmissable things to do in Ragusa, Sicily. Below is some general information on how to reach Ragusa and where to stay there to help you plan your trip better.
General Information On Ragusa, Sicily
How To Get To Ragusa
Ragusa is located in Val di Noto, the historical part of southeastern Sicily. The nearest airport to Ragusa is Comiso Airport which is located at a distance of 27 kms from the city. Another option is to come from Catania airport, the nearest major airport to Ragusa. This is around a 1 hour and 45 minutes drive from Catania. You can use shuttle services from any of these airports to reach Ragusa.
Alternatively you can also reach Ragusa by bus or train. Click here to check the current timings and availability of train or bus routes for your journey.
If you prefer driving or hiring a rental car for Ragusa, the city can be reached by road from major cities like Syracuse, Catania, Agrigento and Palermo.
Where To Stay In Ragusa
Below are our most recommended accommodations in Ragusa;
Budget : Le Stanze Del Sole is located close to Ragusa Ibla and is a great option for a budget friendly accommodation for travelers. It’s a bed and breakfast facility featuring comfortable room with lovely views of the city. There is a good choice of different room types that are well equipped with modern amenities. There is also an accessible shared kitchen for guests.
Boutique Hotel : One of the most stunning hotels in Ragusa is the Itria Palace. It is centrally located in the Ragusa Ibla district. The rooms are spacious, stylish, comfortable and beautifully decorated offering delightful views of the city. This property oozes elegance, have a very friendly staff and promises a memorable stay experience to the guests in Ragusa.
Luxury : Relais Antica Badia Hotel is perfect for a quintessential luxury hotel experience for guests in Ragusa. Rooms are modern and stylish with super comfy beds. They are decorated with antique furniture and luxury fabric fittings. Services like Turkish bath, luxury spa with sauna and massage are a plus for those who seek a relaxing time at the hotel. Other facilities provided by the hotel include babysitting/childcare services, a coffee house, restaurant, bar, airport shuttle, walking tours and a beautiful sun terrace. If you are after a luxury accommodation with friendly service and lots of heritage charm, Relais Antica Badia Hotel would be a great stay for you.
We are sure you will fall in love with Ragusa. The unique architectures, well preserved heritage and astounding scenic locations attract many tourists to this city from all over the world. Which of the mentioned attractions and things to do in Ragusa caught your attention? Do let us know in the comments section below.