(33km from Ragusa; 15000 inhabitants; 170m a.s.l.; zip code 97014;
area code 0932) is a lovely town located on the eastern end of the
province of Ragusa, bounding Siracusa’s district. The town
planning, resulting from the reconstruction following the 1693’s
earthquake, is among the most modern in Sicily; nonetheless it is
adorned with some splendid palazzi and churches.
on the former Spaccaforno, the city of Ispica boasts ancient roots
that seem attested to by the settlements and the caves of the well-known
Cava d’Ispica archaeologic site. This is a narrow valley thought
to have been inhabited by the Sikels, one of the earliest Sicilian
peoples, who settled in its farthest tip, rich in water reserves
and best protected. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabians and Normans
successively settled in the area, each leaving their own indelible
signs. The earliest information on Ispica go back to the Norman
age, when the Count Roger granted the town to Berengario of Monte
Rubro, for his services; this, dying, left all of his holdings to
was successively ruled by Francesco Prefolio and, since 1392, by
the Chiaramontes and the Cabreras, the Counts of Modica. Because
of financial difficulties, Bernardo Cabrera sold the city to Antonio
Caruso, an aristocratic from Noto. Ever since Spaccaforno was definitively
separated from the County, following its own destiny under Caruso
and his descendants Vincenzo, Antonello and Isabella, who, in 1493,
would marry the powerful Count Francesco Maria Statella. This was
Baron of Mongiolino, Gran Siniscalco del Regno and possessor of
many dominions. The Statella family would hold Spaccaforno until
the 19th century, when Feudalism was definitively abolished. After
the earthquake in 1693, here particularly devastating, people decided
to settle in a close, flatter and more comfortable site. The Cava
d’Ispica was slowly abandoned, although it was inhabited up
to recent times and, still, some caves are used as warehouses or
1935, the new town of Ispica was founded.
economy is primarily agricultural boasting majour outputs of early
fruit, tomato, vegetables and carob – for which Ispica is
Italian’s biggest producer and exporter. Industry has developed
in recent decades, particularly the agriculture-related businesses.
is endowed with many and diverse attractions.
18th century Chiesa Madre, dedicated to Saint Bartholomew, rises
at the top of a double flight of stairs, on Piazza Regina Margherita.
It has an elegant front elevation divided into two tiers, with three
doorways. Over the central one, is the beautiful coat of arms of
the Statella family, chosen as a symbol of the city. The Palazzo
Alfieri, built in a splendid Renaissance style, stands in the central
1910’s Palazzo Bruno di Belmonte, near Via Duca degli Abruzzi,
now Town Hall, was designed by celebrated Sicilian architect Basile;
this is the richest and the most beautiful Liberty-style building
in the province.
Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore contains plenty of pieces of art
and was designated as a national monument. It was designed by architect
Vincenzo Sinatra from Noto, with a simple façade with three
portals. The central nave is decorated with frescoes and gilded
stuccoes. It also houses a cycle of frescoes (1763-65) by Olivio
Sozzi, one of the most important Sicilian painters of his time.
Chiesa dell’Annunziata, along Corso Garibaldi, also contains
beautiful frescoes. Before the earthquake it stood by the Castle.
Castello di Donnafugata
Marina di Modica
Marina di Ragusa