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Ispica, Province of Ragusa, Sicily

Ispica is a small city on a hill on the eastern edge of the Monti Iblei, in the south of Sicily, 30 km from Ragusa, 50 km from Syracuse, and 90 km from La Valletta, Malta.
It is essentially exploited by intensive agriculture (tomatoes, olives, vineyards) which is the main economical activity. The territory includes 10 km of coasts, most of which of sand and dunes, and an island (Porri island) at 2 km from the coast. The name of the ptown 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

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.