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By XirCammini

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In the 2000 BC, when there were already several Sicel settlements in Ragusa within the current district of Ragusa Ibla or Hybla Heraea. The ancient city, lies on a hill at an altitude of 300 metres. It was later colonised by the Greek and the Carthagenians and was later under Roman and Byzantine rule. It flourished economically because of the neighbouring port of Camerina. In 848AD the Arabs conquered Ragusa and it remained under their rule until the Norman conquest in 1061. An earlier failed attempt by the Byzantines and Genoese forces to liberate Ragusa from Arab rule resulted in heavy losses for Ragusa. The first Norman Count of Ragusa was Count Roger’s son, Geoffrey.

In the 12th century it became a fief of the Chiaramonte family, an influential Siculo-Norman family until it was unified with Modica during the succession of Martin I in 1392, at which time it was given to Bernardo Cabrera Count of Modica who supported King Martin in his Sicilian campaign. In between it was also under Swabian (German) and Anjou rule because of conquests and inter-marriages.

Under Bernardo Cabrera Ragusa prospered economically. Bernardo, who died in 1423, is buried in the Basilica of St. George in Ragusa. Although Ragusa remained the County capital even after the unification with Modica, In the 15th century it lost this status as capital following popular revolt forcing the son of Bernardo Cabrera, Giovanni to move the fiefdom’s seat to Modica and to pay Ragusa for the the economic losses it suffered under his rule. It later fell under the direct rule of Alfonso V of Aragon.

The1693 Sicilian earthquake caused very severe damage to Ragusa. It was subsequently rebuilt and this explains to Baroque buildings from that time. Following the earthquake the municipality was divided in two, “Ragusa Superiore” (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city “Ragusa Inferiore” (Lower Ragusa). These merged again in the 1920s with a new provincial capital which was previously Modica’s.

From Ragusa the road continues to Chiaramonte Gulfi following the .gpx route.

Practical Note: This being a larger town, one would find self-service launderettes, mini markets and an abundance of diners/restaurants.