Nothing can prepare you for the first view of Ragusa. The oldest part of the city, Ibla, was spilt in two by the earthquake and part of it rebuilt in the baroque style, but hints of the old town still sit alluringly cheek-by-jowl with such formal perfection. As you round the bend on the road from Modica, up the town rises like a giant sandcastle, a thing of part-dilapidated magnificence conceived in a moment of delirium. Ragusa is secretive, mysterious. Walking around, you feel weirdly high up. Even the squares are on a rake – at all times there’s this sense of being on a hill, of walking on air surrounded by silence. In the streets radiating from the immaculate Piazza Duomo, tiny, hidden orange gardens give on to palazzos nuzzling more palazzos with guest rooms and state rooms and saddle-rooms. The highly polished marble floors in the piazza’s neoclassical Circolo di Conversazione – a handsome social club where 18th-century Ragusan gentry gathered to talk and drink – throw up a brooding haze in the late afternoon, if you manage to peer through the windows before a janitor shoos you away and locks up at five o’clock.
For lunch or dinner, try Il Barocco. A few steps from the Church of St. Joseph in Piazza Pola, and by the magnificence of the Duomo, you find this great restaurant with twenty years of history. Since 1992, the Cabibbo family manages the restaurant, offering the authentic tastes of Ragusa. Il Barocco focuses on timeless flavors, fresh pasta and local dishes that have been served in the family for decades.
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Nel Garage is a beautiful and very charming concept store with a selection of clothes and accessories from all over the world. You will also find some ultimate Missoni classics, as well as impeccable tailoring for men by Antonio Marras.
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Photos by Edward Kanarecki.
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