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Ispica, Province of Ragusa, Sicily

Ispica lies on a hill on the eastern edge of the Monti Iblei in southern Sicily, 30 km from Ragusa, 50 km from Syracuse, and 90 km from La Valletta, Malta.
The economy is essentially based on intensive agriculture (tomatoes, olives, vineyards). The territory includes 10 km of coast, most of which of sand and dunes, and an island (Porri island) 2 km from the coast. The name of the town until 1935 was "Spaccaforno", which may come either from "Ispicae fundus" which means the territory of the river, or from "Speca-furnus" with reference to caves in the form of ovens.

Info

  • Altitude: 170 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 15,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 97014
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0932
  • Frazioni: Marina Marza, Santa Maria del Focallo
  • Patron Saint: Beata Vergine del Carmine, celebrated on 16 July

Demographics - Number of Inhabitants in Census Years

Ispica experienced extensive emigration during the twentieth century, first to the Americas, then to northern Europe (especially Germany and Belgium). Today, however, it has become a destination for non-EU immigrants and as of 1 January 2007 it had 575 foreign residents, about 3.82% of the total population. See also a list of the Surnames recorded in Ispica.
1861: 7.539
1871: 7.994
1881: 8.804
1901: 10.832
1911: 11.605
1921: 13.215
1931: 12.099
1936: 11.470
1951: 13.260
1961: 13.206
1971: 12.056
1981: 14.240
1991: 14.629
2001: 14.457
2011: 15.122
 

History

It was inhabited since very early times, since evidence of the presence of man was found in many caves from the Bronze Age. The first mention was in a document of 1093, in a list of churches for admninistartive purposes, but the territory was inhabited since the bronze age.

In the 14th century it was a fiefdom of the Chiaramonte family, then passed to the Cabrera, who sold it in 1453 to Antonio Caruso from Noto, whose descendant married in 1493 Francesco Maria Statella; since then, until the suppression of the feudal system in 1806 the town stayed under the Statella family. It was hit by a terrible earthquake in 1693 then reconstructed in the area called parco Forza.

What to see

  • The monastery of San Francesco
  • The Palazzo Marchionale
  • The Centoscale, a tunnel in the rock with 280 steps.
  • The enchanting Cava d'Ispica, a long deep calcareous ravine with traces of the Neolithic period
  • The Della Forza Archaeological Park with collections of items from prehistoric times to 1693.
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