Most towns in southeastern Sicily were devastated by the 1693 earthquake.
But eight of them were rebuilt in the Baroque style, and are UNESCO World Heritage sites for ‘representing the culmination and final flowering of Baroque in Europe’.
I will see three of these towns (Ragusa, Modica, Noto) so be prepared for a few photos of churches and buildings!
Ragusa Ibla was so heavily damaged that they built a new Ragusa town to the west with a modern grid system.
But many buildings in Ragusa Ibla were repaired and rebuilt in Baroque style. So two very different parts of town.
View of Ragusa Ibla coming from the train station in the new town. My apartment hosts kindly picked me up, and saved me a 2 km walk or figuring out where then local city bus stop was!
The heart of Ragusa Ibla is Piazza Duomo.
It is anchored on one end by Duomo di San Giorgio, built from 1744 – 1775, with the dome added in 1820.
Just down the street is Chiesa di San Guiseppe, which was also designed by Rosario Gagliardi. His work also shows up in Modica, so a busy guy!
The church is attached to Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall).
Antico Portale di San Giorgio is what remains of the original St George
Palazzo della Cancelleria
Chiesa di Santa Maria del’ITRIA with the blue dome but no room to back up for a photo!
Another Chiesa Delle Anime Sante del Purgatorio
A nice park that they built into the redesigned town.
Another view of Ibla from the little bus to the new town
And food! I’m inland so though fish is available, there is also more focus on meat.
I found an excellent trattoria and ate there two days!
Parmigiana – baked eggplant with basil and tomato
Caponata – roasted eggplant with onion, carrot, celery, capers, olives with enough red wine vinegar and honey to give it a mild sweet/sour flavour
I had the local chicken (so delicious boneless skinless thighs) and local salsiccia (family size sausage!)
Very good little cannoli with my ounce of expresso
Then a short 20 minute bus ride to Modica.
Funny as it took me an hour to figure out which company, the schedule, and where the station was. But that is true of every bus trip I’ve taken here!
I’m still not sure which bus station in Catania I’ll arrive in tomorrow!
Modica has two parts – Alta and Basso (high and low).
The jewel of Modica is Duomo di San Giorgio.
It is in Modica Alta, and for more drama, it has 250 stairs leading up to it. They split part way and curve around before joining again.
Chiesa San Piedro
Tomorrow is another bus to Catania.
And I am very excited as my friend Viveka from Sweden is joining me for ten days! 🥳
It’s been two years since we last traveled together, so we have lots of catching up to do!