Situated on the hill Calandra, Ispica is the seventh most populous municipality in the province of Ragusa, only 7 km away from the coast. Its origins date back since the late Roman and, according to tradition, Saint Hilarion of Gaza, hermit, stayed in a cave of Cava Ispica in the third and fourth century attending the church of Santa Maria della Cava. The city took the name of Hyspicaefundus in Roman times, later it changed to Spaccaforno until 1934.
Thanks to its beauties, Ispica aspires to be part of the City late Baroque of Val di Noto: the basilicas, churches, convents, palaces and archaeological sites make Ispica one of those cities that you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. There are many tourist centers in the historic city: interesting are the basilicas and churches, known for their history and for their extraordinary artistic beauty, such as the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (national monument since 1908), much visited for the Loggiato del Sinatra and frescoes by Olivio Sozzi, and Basilica SS. Annunziata. Ispica annually attracts hundreds of tourists during Holy Week (entered in the register of protected intangible heritage by UNESCO) and, in particular, in the days of Thursday and Friday when, respectively, from the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (located a few meters from the B&B) and the Basilica SS. Annunziata are carried in solemn procession through the streets of the city the statues of SS. Flagellate Christ at the Column and the SS. Christ with the Cross. This festival ends on the day of Easter Sunday with a meeting of the Risen Christ and the Virgin Mary to the sound of band and fireworks.
No less interesting are the various works late-Baroque and Art Nouveau, first and foremost Palazzo Bruno of Belmonte, the most important Art Nouveau building of the province, now town hall since 1975.
A few kilometers from the town, there is also an impressive archaeological site characterized by Cava Ispica, the most important of the “cave” in eastern Sicily. There are a number of cave dwellings and was inhabited from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. Located at the mouth of the south-east in the lower Cava Ispica, there is the Archaeological Park of the Force where traces of from the early Bronze Age were found. The park is accessible thanks to a descent carved into the rock (“hundred stairs”) running from Cava Ispica, along which there are traces of Byzantine frescoes and tombs. The catacombs of San Marco then, 2 km from the town are a testimony of the Christian presence in the territory in the late Roman era.
A few km from Ispica, 13 km of coastline stand with its sandy beaches and dunes replacing high and rocky areas. On the coast of Ispica there are several beach resorts, including the village of Santa Maria del Focallo (Blue Flag from 2011), which takes its name from a coastal church destroyed in the earthquake of 1693, and Punta Ciriga, characterized by rocky coastline, with sandy coves, and the presence of rocks.
Ispica is an important hub between the towns of Val di Noto: you can reach, in fact, in a few minutes the city of Modica, Pozzallo, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa and Scicli, which are also the places that were the backdrop the stories of Inspector Montalbano. Lovers of the theater and the classical world can visit Syracuse, located half an hour by highway from Ispica, and in particular assist in the months of May and June to classical performances in the famous Greek theater that is there.