Comiso, Province of Ragusa, Sicily

Comiso is an ancient town located on the slopes of the Monti Iblei.


  • Altitude: 209 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 29,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 97013
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0932
  • Frazioni & Localities: Pedalino, Quaglio.


In the hills around Comiso there are traces of paleolitic and neolitic settlements, and the area known today as Cozzo d'Apollo was probably the mythical Kasmenai, a Greek town founded by the Syracusans in 643 BC mentioned as lying between Kamarina and Akrai, whose actual site is however still to be identified.

Under Byzanthine rule the town was called Comicium, then it was conquered by the Saracens and another ethimology refers to the arabic word for "confiscation". From 1453 to 1812 it was a a fiefdom of the Naselli family, who built the castle. In 1693 an ominous earthquake destroyed almost all the houses, and left only the churches of SS. Annunziata and San Biagio.

What to see

  • The Fountain of Diana, in the town-hall square, which rises in the places of the ancient receives Roman baths, and pours water from a spring through 13 spouts.
  • The Gothic Castello dei Naselli, with an 8-sided tower and 14th-century frescoes
  • The Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake on a project by architect G.B. Cascione Vaccarini, on top of a fine flight of steps, with a dome of architect Girlando. Inside the church there are a 16th-century statue of St. Nicholas and paintings by Salvatore Fiume (1983).
  • The church of San Biagio, built in the 15th century on the ruins of an early 4th century church, surrounded by picturesque small houses.
  • The Pagoda della Pace: for over a decade now Japanese monk Gyosho Morishita of the Nipponzan Myohoji order worked on a peace project near the NATO base of Comiso, once full of nuclear missiles. This is the first on the Mediterranean, the 80th built by the Nippozan Myohji in the world, in places that are symbolically important for peace. The Pagoda is 16 m tall, 15 wide, with a dome surmounted by a pinnacle. Inside 70,000 small stones each with a painting of the lotus Sutra.

Where to stay