1 Flattened by a powerful earthquake in 1693, Ragusa soon emerged from the rubble to become a showcase of sumptuous Baroque architecture, most of which can be viewed in the well preserved old town. The majestic, three-tiered San Giorgio’s, built by Rosario Gagliardi, is the best example of this over-the-top style and is believed to be the inspiration for many of the other churches in the area.

2 Ragusa is the ideal place to experience Sicilian cuisine which tends to be rustic and plentiful with five-course meals not uncommon. For those looking for a more refined experience, the Michelin-starred Il Duoma is the place to be. Head chef Ciccio Sultano, who makes a mean prickly pear sorbet, regularly resists offers of employment abroad as he believes Ragusa provides the finest ingredients in the world”.

3 Situated on a small hill overlooking a lush valley are the small, but incredibly beautiful, Giardino Ibleo. The gardens are home to a clutch of pretty churches including St Agatha et Cappuccino where the order of the Cappuccini priests (and subsequently the coffee’s name) originates.

4 Just a few kilometres south of Ragusa is the stunning town of Modica. Like Ragusa, it has its share of elegant, Baroque buildings with Saint Peters being a particular highlight. But Modica is also home to the delightful, family-run chocolate shop Antica Dolceria Bonajuto. Dating back to 1880 the shop produces an unusually grainy chocolate on the premises using a cold process particular to the region.

5 The countryside surrounding Ragusa is rugged and covered with exotic foliage, affording the viewer some fantastic scenery. The best way to see it is to hire a car and hit the winding roads.

The essentials

Time from London Two-hour flight to Catania then a one-hour bus ride to Ragusa.
Getting there Air Malta has regular flights from London Gatwick to Catania.
What to say Lasci la pistola. Prenda il cannoli. (Leave the gun. Take the cannoli).
Price of a beer €1.50