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The Castles of Ragusa

The castles of Ragusa belong to different epochs and a lot of them have changed greatly. The reason was the earthquake and the eruption of Etna in 1693 after which most of the castles turned into ruins.

An example of such a castle is the castle in Modica which was built in the 14th century at the foot of the Bonifatio Mountain. It was known as the residence of the rulers of Modica County that was one of the largest trade regions of the Medieval Sicily. After the earthquake at the end of the 17th century the castle was completely ruined. But after some reconstructions it still plays the main role in the Sicilian architectural ensemble. Nowadays Modica Castle is situated in the heart of the town on Piazza Castello. In the middle of the 18th century the Clock Tower was added to its powerful towers, refined churches and the Governor’s Palace.

The Donnafugata Castle is one of the most beautiful buildings in the south of Sicily. It is situated on the south-western coast of the province 10km from Ragusa. The castle was built by the noble Donnafugata family in the 17th century. Nowadays it looks as it looked after the reconstruction which was initiated by Baron Corrado Arezzo at the beginning of the 20th century. As a result Donnafugata Castle today is a unique combination of styles in the range between the Venetian Gothic and the latest Renaissance. Tourists are startled by the luxury and elegance of its 120 rooms. The most interesting of them are the bedroom of the Princess of Navarra, as well as the Heraldic Hall and the Smoking Room. The park around the castle attracts the attention of tourists, firstly, because it is a botanical relic with lots of rare plants and, secondly, because it is a real masterpiece of the park architecture.

The Castle in Comiso or Palazzo del Conte is the citadel of the Spanish rulers of the Aragon family. It was built in the 14th century at the place of the former Roman Villa. In the Middle Ages it was used as the Palace of Justice. It has been changed greatly. There are preserved only some elements of the original castle, among them there is a round tower, a fountain and a powerful iron door of the 14th century. After the earthquake of 1693 the first floor was completely rebuilt.
The Biscari Castle in a small town of Acata is situated in the centre of it in a large square surrounded by the palm-trees. It had been rebuilt many times. The last reconstruction took place in the 18th century. There is one more interesting place in Acata. It is the Church of St. Martyr Vincenzo where the relic of the saint’s body is kept. It is situated opposite the castle on the same square.

News

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