Gulfi (19km from Ragusa, 9000 inhabitants; 668m a.s.l.; zip code
97012; area code 0932) stands between the Iblean mountains, near
the Arcibessi peak that with its 903 m is the tallest. It is set
in the middle of a beautiful pine-wood, recently equipped with wooden
tables and seats, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy the spectacular
panorama. Pre-historic settlements dating back to the Neolithic
age were discovered in proximity to the town. The finds included
skeletons, ornamented ceramics and several graffiti from the Iron
Age (2000 BC); nearby (by the Dirillo River) also stands the settlement
of Scornavacche, a stopping place founded by the Greek-Syracusans
along the road that connected Siracusa, Gela, Agrigento and Selinunte.
Most of the finds are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of
Ragusa. Remarkable, among them, are several kilns where clay and
by-products were cooked.
roots of Chiaramonte Gulfi date back to the 6th century BC, when
Greek-Syracusans founded, some 70 years after Syracuse, the town
of Akrillay, that would be later ravaged by the Arabs. The survivors
took refuge on the Arcibessi Mount, where Gulfi was established.
In 1299, it was ravaged by the French Anjou’s army, most of
its inhabitants being massacred. At the behest of Manfredi Chiaramonte,
Count of Modica, the town was rebuilt on a higher and safer site
and surrounded with walls. Manfredi had a Castle built there and
named the town after his own dynasty, Chiaramonte. In 1693 the city
was highly damaged by an earthquake which destroyed all of the Eastern
Sicily. The addition of the name Gulfi, by a royal decree on 8 August
1881, was meant to celebrate the glorious past of the town.
boasts several interesting industrial activities, most involved
in the production of shoes, steel, carpentry, furniture, marble
extraction and processing, pre-fabricated building, canneries. Its
economy, however, remains mainly agricultural, it being an important
producer of almond, flour, fruit and, above all, olive oil, which
is internationally renowned. Breeding is as much important; it provides
with many typical products such as pork-meat, sausage and various
types of cold meats such as salami, mortadella, etc. Worth-mentioning
is Chiaramonte’s salsiccia festival, taking place in Carnival
to its panoramic location Chiaramonte is known as the “Balcony
of Sicily”. From almost every corner in town one may enjoy
a dramatic view comprising Gela, the Etna volcano, the Ippari Valley
and its cities, the Erei slopes up to Caltagirone, the African Sea
and the Iblean mountains. The medieval form of Chiaramonte is completed
by a baroque style dating from the post-quake reconstruction.
tour of the city can start in the Gothic Duomo di Santa Maria La
Nuova and the nearby Chiesa di San Filippo, housing the nice Chapel
of the Rosary. Built in the 15th century and restored in 1720, the
Duomo is a splendid building containing beautiful frescoes, paintings
and sculptures. A gateway, called the arch of the Annunziata, with
a pleasant view over the church of San Giovanni, is a remain of
the ancient walls. The church of San Giovanni, just mentioned, has
a nice doorway with two Doric columns, and, inside, precious frescoes
and a wooden statue of Saint John dating from the 15th century.
North of Chiaramonte is the Santuario di Gulfi, the only building
remaining from the ancient city. Here is venerated the Madonna di
lovely pine-wood, just out of town, is the result of a re-afforestation
started in 1693.
Castello di Donnafugata
Marina di Modica
Marina di Ragusa