Within current restrictions we are allowed to travel to our nearest major city for essential shopping so we decided to take a trip to Ragusa which is approximately 25 miles away.
Our first stop was to a hardware store ‘Bricoman’ on the outskirts of the city.
Paul needed various screws, washers, drill bits, plumbing fittings etc for his ongoing jobs. We also got a new mirror for the bathroom which was exciting as the current one has been discoloured for sometime. The store is enormous and we ended up spending 2 hours here looking for everything that we needed.
The next stop was to the big supermarket ‘InterSpar’, we were already feeling ‘all shopped out’ but as this shop has more variety than the local supermarkets, we had a quick visit to stock up with some essentials. We bought some pizza slices for lunch and drove into the city to find a nice spot to sit and eat them in the sunshine.
Ragusa is built onto the hillside and is divided into 2 halves, the modern city and the ancient Ibla.
It appears that after the famous earthquake of 1693 the Ragusans could not agree on the reconstruction plans so a compromise was agreed. The wealthy, more aristocratic citizens built a new town on the adjacent and higher hill. This was known as Ragusa Superiore, the city’s more ‘modern’ part, with imposing buildings and an ornate Cathedral, San Giovanni Battista which they started to build in 1694.
The rest of the population rebuilt on the original site. The old town being lower, was known as Ragusa Inferior or Ibla. The towns remained administratively separate until 1926 when they merged and became the capital of the region.
We parked in the valley between the two and for our daily exercise we took a walk through the narrow winding streets of the old town. As you approach, you can see the buildings cascading down the side of the hill. The reconstruction was to create a ‘one of a kind’ place with baroque buildings, palaces and churches built with local stone, which since 2002 has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As we started walking up steps from the car park we first came to Piazza della Repubblica and the Church of Anime Sante del Purgatorio which seemed to be standing guard to the entrance of the old town.
We continued walking up more steps until we could see the dome of the Grand Cathedral of Ibla, Duomo di San Giorgio.
The cathedral was designed and built by Rosario Gagliardi between 1739 and 1775. We walked around to the front where it overlooked a small piazza. It would have been a lovely place to sit outside one of the cafes here but sadly restrictions do not allow this at the moment.
As we walked around we came across many churches, (apparently there are 9 major churches here) ornate water fountains and impressive doorways
Continuing up, we eventually came to the top of the town, it was a lovely clear day and from here, you could see for miles all around.
After walking up and down a few hundred steps, in and out of several dead ends and blind alleys, we resisted the urge to consult Google maps, and eventually found our way back down to the car park.
We decided to save the ascent up to the ‘new’ town for next time.