Ragusa, the ancient Hybla Heraea founded by the Siculians, has been declared by UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with the other seven cities in late-Baroque style in Val di Noto.
Its name probably derives from the Greek-byzantine word Rogos, which means barn referring to the rich production of wheat in this area.
It was conquered by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Swabian and Anjou; after the battle of the Sicilian Vespers, it was included to the county of Modica by Manfredi Chiaramonte. Destroyed by the earthquakes in 1542 and 1693, it was rebuilt in typical Sicilian Baroque style. The Cathedral of San Giorgio is one of the best example of this architectural style: it is characterized by an elegant façade with three tiers of columns and is flanked by a side-bay surmounted by a volute. The stairway and the volute, though recently constructed, were harmoniously adapted.
The Church of San Giorgio Vecchio has an amazing Gothic-Catalan portal.
Finally we have to mentioned also the church of S. Maria delle Scale, the church of Purgatory (18th century) famous for its Baroque portal, the wonderful cathedral of S. John the Baptist (18th century), the church of Santa Maria dell'Itria and Palace Donnafugata containing many paintings by Ribera (1588-1652) and Messina (18th century).