Inside one of the most evocative fluvial valleys passing through the Ibleo plain, rising the calandra, on top of the calcareous hill on which Ispica lies.
Its origins date back to early settlers, where it gets its name sake. It as much wild as it is picturesque.
In the picture you will find a canyon that has existed in harmony for millennia. The canyon extends 13km and is distinct in its labyrinths of necropolis, catacombs and retreats.
This historical city is perfect for films sets with its late baroque and liberty architecture.
In fact, the city was the location of the film “Divorzio all'italiana” (“Divorce Italian style”) directed by Pietro Germi.
<<...there is no place in Sicily where the passion of Christ does not relive through a real representation, where real people or statues groups don't make the streets or the squares the location of a drama, where the main elements are betrayal, murder, and the pain of a mother>>
(Leonardo Sciascia, Feste religiose in Sicilia “Religious festivities in Sicily”, 1965)
In Ispica (Ragusa), the week of the holy faith, tradition and folklore melt together by giving shows of great interest and beauty. Easter is one of the main religious festivities and it takes many days of hard work to be prepared.
The Holy Week of Ispica is preceded by the very crowded Lenten functions on “the Friday of March”, by Via Crucis (stations of the Cross) with the Deposition of The Annunziata and by the functions of Palm Sunday, as well as by the intense activity of Confraternities and Associations in view of the crucial celebrations of the holy Thursday and Friday of Easter. The peak days during the holy week are Thursday and Friday, dedicated to the veneration of Christ at the Column and Christ with the Cross on his shoulders held in the Basilica of St. Mary Major and SS. Annunziata.
The Christ at the Column, placed on the left chapel of the transept, in the Church of Saint Mary Major, is the most venerated object in all of Ispica. Before the earthquake of 1693, it was in the Church of St. Mary or the Crucifix in the Cave. It depicts Christ flagellated and tied at the column, bent forward and covered only by a piece of fabric. His body is covered with wounds and blood. His eyes are wide open, showing the realness.
Over the centuries it has undergone so much restoration that it is now difficult to determine the exact dates; the bust and the head could be placed in the late Middle Ages. It is carried during the solemn parade of Holy Thursday. While the people of Ispica are still today divided into “Cavari” and “Nunziatari”, they come together during Holy Week to honour the traditions of the past, handed down by their ancestors.
The Living Crib
The Living Crib is undoubtedly one of the activities which forms the identity of the city.
The charm of the Living Crib, which took place inside the Parco Forza until 2006, has become since a source of pride. The pride is in its Christian and farming culture, whose values still resonate today. At the crib, people can discover their identity by viewing the places and arts and crafts of the past. It is so true to its reputation that visitors come time and time again.
The Living Crib of Ispica features 40 ancient arts and crafts, and hosts a natural oil-mill of 1700, a palm grove which dates back to the end of '800, a watermill of 1700, and many other archeological sites to discover along the way.