8. Ragusa Ibla: Walking Tour with Local Guide
The guided tour of Ragusa in the historic center of Ibla following the style of the late Baroque with religious buildings and characteristic palaces that have made this place a real jewel. Let's start from the Portal of San Giorgio, the only architectural element that survived the earthquake that destroyed the entire town and also the ancient Cathedral of San Giorgio which was later rebuilt in another part of Ibla and which we will visit later. The beautiful portal, symbol of Ragusa, is made with light pink stones in the Gothic-Catalan style and in its central part the fight between St. George and the dragon is depicted.
A few steps away we find the entrance to the Ibleo Garden, the oldest garden in Ragusa, built in the nineteenth century and overlooking the Irminio Valley and the Iblei Mountains, where you are welcomed at the main entrance by an avenue of 50 palm trees and an elegant balcony that borders the garden. Inside this oasis of peace and relaxation in the shade of ancient trees and exotic plants there are some fountains including one with the shape of Sicily, the monument to the fallen of the Great War and some churches. We will visit the Church of San Giacomo which stands on an ancient temple whose interior will amaze you with its wooden ceiling, Corinthian columns, statues and precious paintings.
The tour continues walking through the historic center where we will visit elegant palaces from the outside with balconies supported by typical Baroque-style masks, Sicilian ceramics shops, artisan shops where the famous Sicilian carts are still made up to the famous Conversation Circle, called also Caffè dei Cavalieri, an elegant neoclassical building wanted in the nineteenth century by the nobles of Ragusa as an exclusive meeting point. From the outside you can see precious frescoes and chandeliers on the ceiling and mirrors that bring us back to a nineteenth-century atmosphere. On the main street leading to the Cathedral we also find the beautiful Church of S. Giuseppe with a facade similar to the cathedral, in Baroque style and with a beautiful floor of colored majolica inside.
The guided tour ends with the symbolic monument of Ragusa, the Cathedral of San Giorgio, preceded by an imposing staircase. Visiting the church inside, we can admire the beautiful paintings of the eighteenth-century Sicilian masters, the large pipe organ and the statue of St. George on horseback with his reliquary.