First mentioned in the 11th century, Ispica is a historic city that sprawls across a hill in the south of Sicily. It is clustered with impressive examples of Sicilian Baroque architecture and lies on the doorstep of a fascinating collection of ancient cave dwellings and Neolithic burial sites.
Things to do in Ispica
In the heart of Ispica is the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, which was constructed following the devastating earthquake that impacted Sicily in 1693. Now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is designed in a Sicilian Baroque style, with its elegant facade dominated by Corinthian capitals. The interior is richly decorated with wooden sculptures and religious paintings that include a fresco of Christ at the Column.
A short drive north-west of Ispica are ancient cave dwellings and burial sites that are preserved within the Archaeological Park of Cava d'Ispica. Follow the pathway that leads through the site’s 13-kilometre-long gorge, which is home to a beautifully restored 18th-century watermill and the Museo Cavallo d’Ispica. Here you’ll find antique tools, furnishings and homewares that offer insight into rural Sicilian life.
Travelling with kids? They’ll love a spin on the Circuit Vincenza Ispica, a kilometre-long go-kart track that’s ideal for all ages. Alternatively, head to the golden sands of Spiaggia di Santa Maria del Focallo, a dune-backed beach with calm swimming waters on Sicily’s south coast. It’s particularly magical at sunset when the day’s last rays illuminate the Mediterranean Sea.
Getting around Ispica
Ispica is around 45 minutes’ drive from Syracuse and 1.5 hours from Catania. Catania–Fontanarossa Airport is just over an hour away and has flights to destinations across Europe and the Middle East. Regular trains connect to the Ispica railway station and buses travel throughout the city.