Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Where to stay in Ragusa

As it turned out, Cesco helped us book a room at Giardino Di Pietra, aka 'Stone Garden', a Bed & Breakfast located in a handsome 18th century building in the middle of Ibla. Just days before, all 11 rooms, furnished with antique furniture, were fully booked due to a literary event in Ibla. However, during our 2-night stay, we had the entire place to ourselves.

We woke up to a gorgeous view of Ibla.
Typical Ragusan balcony.
Church of San Giovanni Battista.
The owners of the B&B are very warm and hospitable. We looked forward to the lovely breakfast every morning.
A wide array of home-made jams (apricot, mandarin, prune and apple), pistachio and hazelnut spreads and honey.
Bread, Sicilian biscuits and fluffy omelette.
With the elegant and gentle lady owner.
After breakfast, we set off to meet Cesco and Paola who wanted to bring us to the archeological site of Parco Forza to visit the prehistoric cave dwellings that were used until the 17th century. 
Just then, they bumped into their friend Stefano, a hotelier who was hurrying down the street. Italians are very sociable and soon we found ourselves visiting all the projects he is currently restoring.
His rooms are scattered all over the prime district of Ibla and each one boasts of pictureque views.
This is the kitchen of one of the suites that will be ready in June. Stefano uses high quality equipment and furnishing for all the 14 rooms and suites of his Hotel dell'orologio.
A big kitchen sink that is perfect for my house.
Stefano is so passionate about the project, he explained everything in great detail.
A compact kitchen in one of the smaller suites.
Room with a view.
View from another room.
The headboards are restored from antiques while the mattresses are the same ones used by 5-star hotels.
Stefano's stash of antiques awaiting restoration.
More antiques.
Entering one of the rooms.
With the owner. Just look at the view!
This room has a huge roof terrace.
A craftsman working on the project.
Outside one room.
Besides the hotel, he is also setting up a restaurant and cooking school called Trattoria le Terrazze di Ibla. By touring the restaurant, we could tell it is going to be massive. This is Stefano's pet project and he has spared no expenses with the set-up. The restaurant is large enough to hold weddings and private events. There are separate rooms and sections, from the cigar room to wine bar or gelateria, catering to different crowds.

The kitchen equipment is top-notch and there is a huge woodfire oven for pizza.

 The chefs from his restaurant will conduct cooking classes and aspiring chefs from around the world are welcome to work or learn in the kitchen under the guidance of experts. 

Stefano certainly has got it all thought out. Watching him invest so heavily and work so hard on his dreams made us want to promote Hotel dell'orologio Ibla and Trattoria le Terrazze di Ibla to the world. 

Incidentally, Ragusa could well be the gourmet capital of Sicily. Duomo in Via Capitano Bocchierei, with 2 Michelin stars, is considered one of the best restaurants in Italy. La Fenice and La Locanda di Don Derafino restaurants each have 1 star. So who knows Trattoria le Terrazze di Ibla might just join the ranks some day?

Being the hospitable host, Stefano invited us to visit when the facilities are ready. In fact, they should be ready anytime now. We'll be back Stefano!


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