Festa San Giorgio

May 29, 2009 / Events
Ragusa Ibla
sangiorgioragusa1Ragusa and Ragusa Ibla are two halves of the same city, with Ragusa Superiore the “modern” part and Ragusa Ibla, the ancient. After a devastating earthquake in 1693, Ragusa rebuilt with broad avenues and a modern street layout. Ibla decided to rebuild exactly the way it had been, retaining the original layout designed by the Arabs around the 1st century A.D. but adding a few baroque details like the many palazzi with fanciful wrought iron balconies and the Duomo of San Giorgio, their patron saint.

sangiorgioragusa2There is a point where the two blend, where ancient homes stand and the views, as you approach the church of Santa Maria delle Scale (“of the stairs”) are breathtaking.

On the Feast day of San Giorgio, celebrated on the last Sunday in May, Ibla is decorated with fantastic light creations that span its narrow streets. Excitement builds as canons explode, raining down prayers on colorful bits of paper and balloons are released into the air. San Giorgio, in full battle regalia atop his steed is dramatically carried down the steps of the Duomo, through the curving streets and in and out of the many churches, by a group of men who lift it and dance with it. St. George appears to be galloping above and through the crowd as bands play and adoring worshipers fall in behind.

The day culminates with a fantastic fireworks display choreographed to music, that is simply meraviglioso and completely unforgettable!

Rosemary and Bob Connelly

by Rosemary and Bob Connelly

Artists who fulfilled their dream to “Live Cheap and Make Art” in Italy. Their website www.livecheapmakeart.com showcases their watercolors and photographs.

6 Responses to “Festa San Giorgio”

  1. Tamryn

    Looking for cheap airfare right now to arrive in time for Sunday!!! Great Note….

  2. Angelina Limato

    Thank you for the article on this. Wish I could be there sounds exciting! Spectacular too! Hope you enjoy your days off to celebrate. It is nice when you can get a sandwiched in day like that, enjoy! Thanks to Rosemary and Bob Connelly too for the pictures. The people on the balcony have a great view of the event. Thanks so much for all you share with us.

  3. Cathy

    I’m interested in finding out more about the Arab construction of the first century AD. Any other info on that?

  4. Ragusa was occupied by the Arabs in 848 AD, and remained under their rule until the 11th century, when it was conquered by the Normans. But I’m afraid I don’t have any real specific knowledge of this topic, although there many examples of Arab construction throughout Sicily, from the maze of streets in Ragusa Ibla to the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti and the Cathedral at Monreale in Palermo, with its mix of Arab, Byzantine and Norman styles.

  5. Claudia McCadden

    This is why my husband and I love Italy. They take so much pride in celebrating their Saint’s Day. It is so wonderful that the traditions continue from generation to generation. I want to thank you so much for the great pictures and articles that you both share with us. I wish that we could be their for every celebration!!!!!!
    Thank you again.


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