Sicily's rich history is reflected in sites like the Valley of the Temples and in the Byzantine mosaics at the Cappella Palatina. On Sicily’s eastern edge is Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes.

Provinces of Sicily

Houses for sale in Southern Sicily

Authentic, beautiful Sicily. A UNESCO world heritage site famed for its Baroque architecture and marvellous beaches.

The province of Ragusa, smallest and the youngest of the Sicilian provinces, in southern Sicily is one of the most fascinating and beautiful areas of the island.  Essentially Baroque, the Ragusa you see today dates almost entirely from 1693.

Ragusa which has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO and, because of its beauty, has been used by a number of leading film directors as a film set. 

Featured Properties in Ragusa and southern Sicily


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Estate for sale in Sicily
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An interesting project to create a private boutique village resort located in a secluded borgata district in the Unesco baroque town of Ragusa Ibla and ...

€420,000

Estate for sale in Sicily
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Exclusive opportunity to purchase an entire village complex of approx. 1200mq of traditional stone farmhouses and antique villa. The Borgata ...

€1,000,000

Apartment for sale in Sicily
Beds: N/A
Historical building located in the centre of Scicli with terrace and garage providing 5 parking spaces. There are 3 private entraces, internal ...

Overview of Southern Sicily and Ragusa

Mt Etna and Catania

The southern Sicilian coast

An ideal destination for those who want to combine a relaxing vacation on the beach with cultural sightseeing in one of the most renowned Baroque areas of Europe. In the summer picturesque villages welcome you with the delightful ambience of open-air events under a star-lit sky.

houses-for-sale-ragusa-sicily-italyRagusa

Ragusa is a province primarily designed by man. Farmers in particular have contributed to Ragusa's character, appearance and cuisine, shaping the countryside through.  The landscape is a patchwork of fields with long dry walls. The province is dominated by the Iblei highlands and valleys, characterized by profound canyons, eroded over time by flowing rivers and streams. The landscape becomes gentler as it slopes down towards the splendid coast, with Scoglitti and Pozzalo marking out its confines. It is an alternating balance of cliffs and endless beaches of finest sand.  The colors one can witness here are truly beyond words, painted by sun playing on the blue seas and golden beaches.  Ragusa is pure Sicilian Baroque style. It is a style that speaks of the 18th-Century Restoration and reconstruction, a historical moment of great artistic highlights. The streets of Ragusa, Modica, Sicli and Ispica,  have the prestigious architecture

History was constructed well before that, however, when the Sicels established their settlements in this land, followed by the Magna Graecia and Roman epochs, and other conquerors who influenced Sicily’s art and culture.

Greek-theatre-siracusa-sicily-italySiracusa (Syracuse) 

Echoes of ancient civilizations still resound in the streets of this coastal city, and Baroque architecture narrates its eventual rebirth as sun, sand and sky envelop it with their brilliance. A journey to this corner of Sicily awakens profound sensations, as if one were crossing the threshold of time into thousands of years ago.

You can feel it as we walk through Syracuse's streets,  through the eras that impacted Syracuse’s history so strongly: i.e. the Romans and Byzantines, Arabs and Normans, Swabians and Aragonese.  Neapolis, Acradina, Ortygia, Tyche, and Epipoli are the quarters of the ancient city and their names alone suffice to transport us back in time.

In the Park of Neapolis and on the Island of Ortygia, connected by three bridges to the mainland, you are surrounded by monuments. Immersed in the Iblea Valley, amidst Mediterranean vegetation is the Pantalica necropolis, a site of extraordinary archaeological value: findings include thousands of tombs dug in the rocks by the first inhabitants of the area. The tombs were successively used and amplified by the Greeks and the Romans.

Noto and Palazzolo Acreide are two of the eight cities of the Noto Valley, declared a World Heritage Site for the richness and prestige of its architecture, and considered among the highest expressions of 18th-Century, late Baroque in Europe.

The Iblei Mountains slope down gently towards the coast, enlivened by cliffs, bays, islets and tracts of white beaches. An expanse of emerald hues, enhanced by lines of cobalt blue and streaks of light, beautifully complements Syracuse’s marine landscape.

More inland, especially near the area's riverbeds, are various natural sites populated by interesting samples of flora and fauna.

Ancient flavors and lively cultural and folkloristic traditions also figure among the touristic attractions of Syracuse Province of Syracuse.

cathedral-catania-sicily-italyCatania

Etna dominates the landscape. This active volcano and Catania itself - a bustling marvel of a city on Sicily's eastern coast - are closely linked.

The coastal strip that is the Province of Catania looks out over the Ionian Sea, a natural boundary for the Province.

Catania lies cradled amidst the splendid greenery of its surroundings, yet at the same time opens out to the sea, welcoming us with its grand piazzas, wide roads, and architecture in lavic rock. The city is full of attractions, offering historic and artistic wonders for everyone.

Remnants of history prove that the various cultures that have left their mark; the people have absorbed the influences of their many rulers, as seen in the architectonic lines of the buildings, churches and monuments.

Etna is its icon. High, impressive and silent, a self-made mount with its peak forming a great crater of fire, it looms and waits over the scene. Gardens and the bright colors of orange and lemon groves and vineyards interrupt (and benefit from) the lavic grey of the dark, fertile soil. Chestnut trees, nuts and oaks, pine trees and beeches make up the thick woods covering the mountain mid-way to its peak, like a curtain opening out to the oasis of colors that lies beyond. Once at the top, what awaits is an extraordinary view that extends to the horizon.

Cobalt and crystalline blues, and other undescribable hues are the tones of the sea of Catania's coast. Pebbly but pleasant beaches, small bays alternating with dark tracts of black tuff, high cliffs a sheer drop to the sea, and endless golden coastlines seem to conspire to offer an array of sensations.

But wherever one chooses to go, the sensation evoked by the gorgeous limpid sea is one not easy to forget.

What to see in Southern Sicily

Agrigento valley of the temples

Agrigento

A UNESCO archaeological area. The famous Valley of the Temples - surrounded by green olive groves, almond trees, citrus orchards and vineyards that stretch out to the sea with all its imposing and elegant monuments - fantastically evokes an atmosphere of 2500 years ago, when the ancient Akagras Agrigentum was a center of power and learning.

Siracusa (Syracuse)

The discovery route of this Province starts out on Ortygia Island, barely connected to Syracuse by a few short bridges. Ortygia resembles a museum sitting between sea and sky, a city seemingly frozen in time. The piazzas, streets and sidestreets of Ortygia trace a border around this small jewel box and its rocky beach, and its buildings, churches, temples, walls and facades decorate each corner. The majestic Maniace Castle, a remnant from the Swabian era, dominates the extreme point of the island, an ideal position from which to survey incoming marine traffic. 

Looking out on the side of the Porto Grande, the Adorno Esplanade in the delicate hues of 19th-Century buildings includes the Aretusa Fountain, outlined by green papyrus. This is one of Ortygia's most enchanting spots.

Beyond the seafront is a piazza dominated by the Duomo, an exceptional example of the stratification of mixed architecture that blends remarkably into one.

The Doric Temple of Athena is at the center of this Christian church built in the Byzantine Era. Renovated by the Normans, the church lost its façade in an earthquake before being rebuilt in the Baroque style in the 18th Century. 

Not far away, in the former monastery of San Benedetto, one can visit Palazzo Bellomo, a clear example of both Swabian and Catalan houses-for-sale-Siracusa-sicily-italyinfluences. The Palazzo exhibits from the Regional Gallery, for example a precious art collection with sculptures by Domenico Gagini and Giovan Battista Mazzolo, along with works by Antonello da Messina and Caravaggio. 

The Temple of Apollo stands on the wet dockside, first transformed into a church, then into a mosque by the Arabs, and again into a church by the Normans. 

Crossing over to Syracuse on the mainland, we find a hotbed of great historical memoirs. One only has to visit the Neapolis Archeological Park to take stock of this fact. The picture that unfolds before our eyes will takes us back thousands of years in time. 

The epic Greek Theatre, a portion of which is dug into the rocks, is the most famous in Antiquity. Today, it is still the stage for highly-attended theatrical productions. 

On one side we find the Latomia del Paradiso with numerous stone caves, including the Grotta dei Cordari, the Grotta del Salnitro, as well as the one that Caravaggio nick-named “The Ear of Dionysius” for its particular acoustic effect. The Altar of Hiero II and the Roman Amphitheatre are other stand-out structures to see in the Park. 

Do not miss a visit to the ”Paolo Orsi” Regional Archaeological Museum, containing almost 97,000 square feet of exhibits inside a modern structure. The collection lends a sweeping view, from Prehistory up to the Classical Age. 

A fascinating page of Mediterranean history was written in Pantalica, one of the most ancient towns of the Island, where the allure of the past blends with nature. Five thousand cave-tombs dug into rocks and the Anàktoron, a monumental royal palace perched on the top of a hill, testify to the presence of man in these lands since prehistoric times. 

The remains are enhanced by the Natural Reserve of the Anapo Valley, with its ravines and sheer cliffs. 

From archeology to art:

Located on the highlands dominating the Asinaro Valley stands Noto, the cradle of Sicilian Baroque art, and one of the most beautiful towns in Sicily - in addition to being a World Heritage Site. 

Cathedral-noto-sicily-italyNoto is labeled the “Garden of Stone,” and when we walk through its streets, we can understand why: the buildings, churches, stuccowork, decor and embellishments narrate the ostentation that swathed Sicily in the 18th Century. 

The Porta Reale demarcates the entrance to the historic center, passing through the elegant Corso Vittorio Emanuele, divided into three main squares. Piazza del Municipio opens out with its regal stairway leading to the Cathedral courtyard, itself delimited on either side by two bell towers. 

Three 19th-century buildings – the Palazzo Vescovile, Palazzo Lanolina and Palazzo Ducezio - mark out the piazza’s perimeter, a jewel box of architectonic treasures. 

A short distance away is the monumental Complex of Santissimo Salvatore, hosting a monastery, Basilica and seminary, each designed according to different styles perfectly blended harmoniously into one - a very picturesque and impressive synthesis. 

A visit to the Church of Santa Chiara is a must on an itinerary of the Province. It is elaborately decorated with stuccowork, putti and colonnades that correspond to the interior sculptures and paintings. 

Equally-beautiful is the Church of San Domenico, a masterpiece by Rosario Gagliardi; its convex façade, decorated with columns, anticipates the beauty within.

Vincenzo Sinatra, one of the architects who contributed to Noto’s rebirth, built the concave Church of Montevergini. 

The Church meets Nicolaci Street, where we can glimpse the splendid balconies adorning the exterior of Palazzo Nicolaci Villadorata. 

Finally, the exterior décor and precious frescoes of Mazza's Palazzo Trigona is a triumph. 

The other Baroque gem of the Noto valley is Palazzolo Acrèide. 

Ragusa

Ragusa, Scicli and Modica are three pearls that are also declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  

Ragusa can be defined as two cities in one. The old section (Ragusa Ibla) had to be rebuilt over the ruins of the 1697 earthquake, while the new section was built later, during the 18th-Century reconstruction. 

The Duomo of San Giorgio is the symbol of the city’s rebirth, the work of Rosario Gagliardi, whose signature appears on many masterpieces within the Noto Valley. The church's columns, friezes and statues render the façade with that typical Baroque ostentation. Its three naves are delineated by stone pillars, topped by finely decorated capitals. 

The Cathedral in new Ragusa is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, with an impressive façade dominated from above by a lateral 164-ft bell tower. The Church of Santa Maria delle Scale, equally lovely, features a 14th-Century portal that survived the aforementioned earthquake and was reused for the construction of the new Baroque church. 

Refined and richly decorated buildings grace the streets of the city of Modica. Atop a great stairway floats the imposing façade of the Church of San Giorgio, a symbol of this beautiful city further inland from Ragusa. The town opens out at the foot of the cliff that hugs the ancient part of the town; picturesque alleys, roads and small stairways lend it its character. The Cathedral of San Giovanni is a must. 

A look upwards reveals the impressive, elaborate adornments, and the flowing and sprightly perspective of its façade. 

Modica is the birthplace of Salvatore Quasimodo, Nobel Prize recipient in literature; the house where he spent a part of his life has remained exactly the same, complete with his memoirs and his photos. 

Sicli is one of the central highlights of the Sicilian baroque and of the Ragusa coast. 

Finely-decorated balconies display their ironmongery and flower decorations, while portals are carved with elegant mouldings. Frames and friezes complete the design, mainly characterized by refined city buildings - of which Palazzo Beneventano is one of the best examples. 

Three structures assembled together in a pyramidal form compose the exterior of the monumental Church of San Bartolomeo, the “queen” of Sicli. 

Another artistic gem in the Province of Ragusa is the town of Ispica, that also offers bountiful natural attractions. 

CataniaGreek-temple-sicily-italy

The 17th Century was a destructive one, whereas the 1800s were a rebirth. The onset of an eruption, then an earthquake, brought Catania to its knees. Resurrected from the rubble and ashes of devastation, it eventually triumphed with the beauty of its Baroque architecture, which can still be admired today.

Its Duomo is a magnificent example. Reconstructed with the use of materials recovered from Roman-era buildings - such as the marble columns that decorate its courtyards - it looks out onto the piazza carrying its name (which after the earthquake was designed to leave ample space between buildings in the event of another destructive earthquake). It is dedicated to the city’s Patron, St. Agata, whose statue surmounts the main façade designed by Giovan Battista Vaccarini.

Besides the church, the splendid Piazza Duomo is surrounded by the Palazzo Senatorio and elegant noble buildings arranged around the Fontana dell’Elefante, the symbol of the city.

The monument, also the work of Vaccarini, is a kind of historical stratification: the base (the elephant) recalls Carthaginian civilization, the obelisk recalls that Egyptian, and the cross, palms and globe refer to Christianity.

The artist also designed the Church of Badìa di Sant'Agata, very striking for the ornamentation on its façade, and the perspective of its portal, set further back in respect to the two lateral bodies.

Piazza dell'Università is dominated by the grand façade of the University, the construction of which was authorized by Alfonso V of Aragon; it was reconstructed after the earthquake, with a design by the ear's great architects.

Vaccarini built two floors of the internal courtyard, the colonnade and the dual-colored flooring.

The Collegiata or Regia Chapel is another magnificent example of the architectonic splendor that came about during the century of reconstruction (the interior was decorated by Giuseppe Sciuti).

Colossal, even if unfinished, is the Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò, with interventions by Battaglia, Vaccarini and Amato.

The Ursino Castle, commissioned by Frederick II, survived the catastrophic events of the 17th Century.

It was originally located on the coastal stretch, but a volcanic eruption modified its structure; thus, the castle is now set further back compared to its initial position.

The entire Noto Valley was reconstructed in the 18th Century; today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site precisely because of its stylistic features, the beautiful result of a tragic earthquake.

One of the Valley's eight cities, Caltagirone is famous for its ancient ceramic art that supplied the décor for many of the churches and buildings in its center. The highest expression of its baroque soul is Santa Maria del Monte with an impressive stairway decorated with polychromatic majolica.

Militello in Val di Catania is also part of the UNESCO network. Its center recalls in its structure and style the features of the reconstruction period.

Mounta Etna

Etna, one of the biggest active volcanoes in Europe, lies just north of Catania. This mountain lives, breathes and transforms itself and each time it awakes, red fiery flowing lava is deposited in its craters and, at the same time, overlaps with ancient flows, changing the mountain’s profile each time. The landscape changes greatly as one ascends higher. Pinewoods are divided into sections by fascinating fuming black lava and gaping craters. Fruit orchards, orange and lemon groves, oaks and majestic chestnut trees, luxuriant vineyards and expanses of beech trees also thrive from the volcano's fertile soil. All contribute to the mountain's diverse and incomparably-beautiful ambiences.

Towns in Southern Sicily

Ragusa

Marina di Modica
This place is beautiful at any time of year, with its milder climate compared to the city. The bay is a surf and windsurf lovers’ paradise thanks to its perfect exposure to the winds.

Pozzallo
This beach is 30km from Ragus and truly wonderful, the water is crystal-clear and the landscape is historically and culturally interesting. 

Marina di Pozzallo
Moorings for 120 medium size, because it has moorings for boats with a maximum length of up to 25.00 m and a maximum draught of 4.00 m. It includes a highly varied range of services available to its customers. The basic needs of its customers will be well met, because it has water and electricity.. The marina also has nautical services available. 

Sampieri
A tiny village near to Ragusa, famous for its beautiful beach and stone cottages that look romantically out to sea.

Baroque 
Ragusa, Scicli and Modica are Baroque jewels. Modica is one of the most lovely cities in all Sicily. It grew up in the southern reach of the Iblean mountains.

Catania

Sits at the foot of Etna. A port town for centuries, it has a magnificent central square, Piazza del Duomo

Siracusa

Best known for being a Greek colony and birthplace Archimedes. The ancient ruins of Greek civilization and a Roman Amphitheatre remain.

Taormina

On a hill near Mount Etna. The teatro Antico which was a Greek Roman theatre still has performances. The lovely seaside town has sandy beaches and coves to explore. Just off the coast is Isola Bella, a nature reserve.

Noto

The town has an extraordinary Baroque cathedral.

Ragusa which has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO and, because of its beauty, has been used by a number of leading film directors as a film set. Marina di Ragusa, a few kilometres to the south of the town has become a top class destination without losing any of its old world charm and character. Ragusa, Scicli, Noto and Modica are Baroque jewels.

Modica

One of the most attractive towns in all Sicily, is surrounded by the Iblean mountains and with a marina. The bay is a surf and windsurf lovers’ paradise thanks to its perfect exposure to the winds.

 

Sports and Leisure in Southern Sicily

sailing on the coast of Sicily

In Sicily the sea can be enjoyed in so many different ways: relaxing on one of the many  coastal beaches, sailing, diving to explore the wonderful seabeds, or windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Trekking

Follow  the routes of Sicily's natural parks.

Golf

In recent years Sicily has even become an important destination for lovers of golf. Several new courses, such as Donnafugata have opened and there is also the Sicily Open.

Thermal Spas

The most renowned spas are Sciacca, with its famous Stufe di San Calogero, caves where the high concentration of steam reaches a temperature of about 40° C, or the Thermae of Acireale, where underground seawater mixes with sulphur water from Etna.

Festivals

Countless festivals  take place every year in the amazing scenery of Taormina’s Ancient Theatre, including the well-known Cinema Festival, an award ceremony for the best films. Many festivals are dedicated to the Patron Saints of Sicily as well, mixing faith, folklore and tradition into a display of the Sicilians’ profound religious devotion. The Festival of Saint Rosalia in Palermo and the Festival of Saint Agatha in Catania take place every summer.

Food and Wines of Southern Sicily

Sicilian Cannoli

Ragusan gastronomy finds its roots in ancient traditions.

The simple dishes set at farmers' tables of were the beginnings of tasty recipes marked by the simplicity and authenticity that have long characterized the Province's excellent cuisine.

Tasty pastieri pies are stuffed with minced meat or lamb and goat meat mixed with cheese and eggs, while the rustic scacce is very tasty for its rich and complex filling.

The most outstanding among the second courses are those dishes recipes featuring pork and white meats. Try the stuffed ribs and pork gelatin, typical of Chiaramonte Gulfi. Not to be overlooked is the rabbit, cooked in the pattuisa style.

When it comes to cheese, choosing can be a challenge: the Ragusano P.D.O., the caciocavallo ibleo, the Tumazzo medicano, canestrato and cottage cheese are all produced according to ancient traditions.

The pastries and desserts, of course, are unbelievable, particularly the renowned Modica chocolate. Cookie recipes include the "mustazzola" prepared with honey and almonds, ”mpanatigghi," soft tarallucci, and biscuits with almonds (the main ingredient of Sicilian sweets).

Curious about the area's wine? We recommend the Cerasuolo della Vittoria DOCG, a great match for meat dishes.

Prices of houses for sale in southern Sicily

Property for sale in Sicily. Prices of masseria (farmhouses) and sea view villas around Ragusa in southern Sicily are low, around 750 - 1,000 Euro per m2. Many country houses in Sicily have olive and almond trees, and usually their own water source on the land. Purchase an apartment or townhouse in one of the Baroque towns of Modica, Noto, Scicli and Ragusa, and be surrounded by the magnificent art and architecture of Sicily; plus you get the sea view for free!

 

Geography of Sicily

Surface Area: 9,927 square miles (25,711 sq km)

Coastline extending 1,484 Kilometers

Highest Point: Mount Etna at 10,890 feet (3,320 m)

Population: 5,050,486

Provinces

Palermo (regional capital), Agrigento, Catania, Caltanissetta, Enna, Messina, Ragusa, Siracusa

and Trapani.

Getting To Sicily

Airports

Palermo, Catania, Comiso

Sea

Ferries from Calabria to Messina.

Climate

Sicily has a Mediterranean climate:  mild, wet winters, and hot, dry summers. An winter low temperature is 8.2˚C and an average  summer high 29˚C.

 

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