We are spending this winter in the Porto Touristico at Marina di Ragusa, it is quite a modern marina, only opened in July 2009, and is well protected from all directions with very little swell even in high winds. It has all the usual amenities; laundrette, showers, WiFi and the marina office staff are very helpful with anything you may need. There are several shops, cafes, bars etc around the marina, my favourite is the definitely the gelateria with a variety of flavours to try over the next few months.
There is a great community here with many people also living on their boats through the winter. Various activities are arranged and broadcast on regular morning updates via the VHF radio. There are happy hours in the bar to meet up with others, although when we arrived back here, Sicily was just going into lockdown, at the time the bars had to close at 6pm, so afternoon drinking was encouraged. We only managed to fit one visit in as then tighter restrictions were put in place allowing only takeaways. Other events include yoga, tai chi, or just visiting other boats for coffee (or more often something stronger!)
There’s always plenty of boat maintenance jobs to do, especially through the winter, everyone here has skills in different areas and there is always someone willing to help you out with specialist tools or expert advice.
From the marina there is direct access to miles of lovely golden sandy beaches to both the east and west. The beach to the east is the most popular. Awarded with a blue flag, it has a wide sandy beach lined with cafes and restaurants (although many of these are now closed for the winter), volleyball courts and a clear shallow sea for swimming (the sea is now a little bracing and certainly wakes you up). It gets quite busy at the weekend when the locals all visit.
It is a 10 minute walk along the beach (or the promenade) to the town of Marina di Ragusa, originally called Mazzarelli which in ancient Sicilian means “small ports”, it took the current name from 1928. It is now the most popular seaside resort of south east Sicily. The population here in winter is 4,000, apparently this rises to approximately 60,000 in the summer when the Italian and foreign tourists visit.
In the town there are plenty of places to eat and drink in the busy Piazza Duca degli Abruzzi.
From the piazza you can see the remains of the walls of Tower Cabrera which overlooks the promenade, dating back to the sixteenth century it was used as a lookout tower over the old port to protect trading activities against pirates.
You can still see the old dock which was used for small boats, this is now the Piazza della Dogana
The Church of Santa Maria di Portosalvo dates back to the 1930’s and stands just behind the main piazza.
In the 19th Century the village began to develop into a small fishing town and was inhabited by fishermen and peasants until the 1870’s when the port was used mainly for the export of asphalt, mined in Ragusa and shipped to many European Ports. The town was further expanded in the early 20th Century when the Ragusa aristocracy began to build holiday cottages and in the 1960’s it was getting more popular and gradually became the busy tourist resort that it is today
With many small shops in the town, and a weekly open air market with local products and fresh food, especially fruit and vegetables, you can get pretty much everything you need. For more choice, the city of Ragusa is approximately 30 minutes drive away with larger shops and supermarkets.
The beach to the west is a little more rugged, with a rocky coast, it is not lined with the same beach bars etc but there are many houses along the beach looking out to the sea.
We decided to take a walk along this coast to a lighthouse and the small town of Punta Secca.
You can just see the lighthouse in the distance.
Everyone seems to love building these towers, they are all along the coastline.
We also came across some random statues left laying in the sand!
This area has been made popular recently by the ‘Inspector Montalbano’ television series, so we had to take a look at his house on the beach where it was filmed
We then headed back along the beach to the marina.
Always a lovely sunset at the end of the day and I couldn’t resist finishing with this picture!