Hotel Montreal, Ragusa ***
This hotel in Ragusa, Sicily is an ideal base from which to explore the rugged beauty of the Sicilian southern coast. Set in a newly-renovated building in the baroque environs of Ragusa, the well-appointed modern rooms are a haven of comfort after a busy day's sightseeing. View hotel
Double rooms from €39
Hotel Il Barocco, Ragusa ***
Hotel Il Barocco, Ragusa. Located in the heart of one of Sicily's most famous old towns, this Ragusa Ibla hotel makes the perfect base for discovering one of the marvels of Sicilian Baroque town planning. View hotel
Double rooms from €59
Hotel Villa Carlotta, Ragusa ****
Hotel Villa Carlotta, Ragusa. Lying on the outskirts of the south-eastern Sicilian Baroque town, this Ragusa hotel is a superb mix of old and new. The building is a seventeenth century farm, which has been quite beautifully modernised. View hotel
Double rooms from €69
A lovely little provincial capital on the southernmost tip of Sicily, the town of Ragusa owes its current appearance to the devastating earthquake of 1693. The city could trace its history back to the second millennium BC, and had been much invaded - by the Greeks, Carthage, Byzantium, Rome and the Normans. But this was nothing compared to the chaos wreaked by an earth tremor that split the town in two, killing 5000 of the inhabitants.
The silver lining was that while the old town of Ragusa Ibla was charmingly enough rebuilt around the medieval ruins, a grand new town (Ragusa Superiore) was impressively raised in the new Sicilian Baroque style, which was also seen in Catania, Noto, Comiso and Modica. Ragusa Ibla and Superiore are dramatically joined by four bridges that span the Valle dei Ponte, a deep ravine between the two. The most impressive is the 18th century Ponte dei Cappuccini. Interestingly, the two towns remained separate municipalities until 1926, when in the fascist era they were reunited to form the new provincial capital (thus displacing Modica).
Main sights in Ragusa Superiore include the superb Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista and the Hyblean Archaeological Museum. In Ragusa Ibla we see more baroque splendour in the Churches of the Souls of the Purgatory and of San Giuseppe. Also visit the gardens of the Giardino Ibleo.