October 27, 2011 / Art & Archaeology
Ragusa, Sicily
Folks don’t generally come to Sicily to look at a pile of rocks… although that’s too bad, because they’re missing out on muragghi.

The land in the province of Ragusa is more rock than earth, and making a field into a piece of tillable land meant getting rid of the stones, an enormous amount of backbreaking work – without the benefit of painkillers.

Most farmers from the 16th century onwards built dry stone walls, while others created monumental constructions to house the rocks, called muragghi. The muragghi look as though they ought to have another function – a mysterious cult meeting place perhaps – but they don’t. They were made just for housing rocks.

Beautiful in their simplicity, muragghi grace the countryside around Ragusa and symbolize the vast amount of human labor it took to create this part of Sicily’s agricultural landscape. One of the grandest is the muragghio di San Giacomo, shaped like a huge stone wedding cake.

Anita Iaconangelo

by Anita Iaconangelo

An expert on walking and culinary tours in many areas of Italy, with a special focus on Sicily, Anita Iaconangelo is the founder of Italian Connection Tours and author of the blog Anita’s Italy. She is currently at work on a book entitled Savoring Sicily: A Culinary Quest. 

10 Responses to “Muragghi”

  1. Rosemary

    We lived in the Ragusa province for a time and always loved the stone fences. I don’t know how we missed these!! Fantastic!

  2. giuseppe spano (jojo)
    giuseppe spano (jojo)

    considering heritage, the structure is reminiscent of a ziggurat, on a smaller scale.. that is part of what is so intriguing of Italy,the many influences that makes it what we love

  3. I have been to Ragusa many times….have stopped and worshiped many walls and gates……BUT I have never seen these “muragghi”….I am so going to see them on my next trip…..

  4. Gian Banchero

    Instead of throwing rocks into a dump-pile they constructed monuments to their tenacity to “tame” the land, in the process they created art, something I’m positive that they knew they were doing. I did not know the muragghi existed, thanks Anita for bring them to our attention.

  5. Anita Iaconangelo

    If you missed the muragghi when in Ragusa, I am not surprised as they are not easy to find – often down bumpy dirt road that is easier to navigate on foot. A few are also within the walled gardens of large villas- ther eis one you can get a peek at near Sampieri and the coast in the area of Cda. Trippatore. For the San Giacomo muragghio – ask in the area and someone may direct you, but to acutally clomb on it you will have to cross fields on foot. But worth the effort and a great adventure!

  6. Anne Robichaud

    Mamma mia, this Italy of the “endless discoveries”! With Sicilian husband Pino, countless trips all over the island since 1975..but NEVER found the muragghi! – Nuraghi in Sardegna, murraghi in Sicilia!
    here are a few to see in Sardegna>


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