There are many things I love about Sicily. This little town is one of them. We took the bus from Marina Di Ragusa. The Marina can explain the bus schedule.
Ragusa is built on a wide limestone hill between two deep valleys, Cava San Leonardo and Cava Santa Domenica. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. More on this fascinating town can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragusa,_Italy
This town is a favorite at sundown. In the dimming orange light of Ragusa Ibla, the town resumes activity from its mid-day rest. The children, released from the prison of quiet time, run through the streets, bouncing balls, beginning to form the cliques that will dominate their social station. The sun has capped the higher mountain ridge, leaving the part of town to the left of the church in sudden darkness that contrasts sharply to the setting sun still shining on the remainder of town. The mountain ridge serves to divide the town’s building into light strata, one gets dark at 3 p.m., one has light until 4:30. The park sits high and flat across the width of the town and is bathed in the sun’s last light. This is where the town gathers. Passigiata all over Italy is some form of- wake up from siesta, dress up, take the dog for a walk and visit with the neighbors for a while. This tradition seems like it must have descended from a society that has small homes, but wants to socialize. People in Ragusa Ibla walk towards the park and end their stroll there, stopping at one park bench to speak to this friend, the moving to another to visit that one. I imagine there is some hierarchy to obtaining a bench, as there are a limited number. Either by age, promptness or respect in the community, the benches are claimed, those sitting are the ones visited, the walkers are the visitors. The light only grows warmer as the sun slides further behind the ridge, sending reds and oranges, then pinks and purples into the sky behind the town’s apex, the church. Sitting in the park allows a full view of the complete sunset color spectrum, amid the chatter of friends talking, the squeals of children playing and dogs barking. It’s as if the town itself has a ritual for putting itself to bed, and the people are required pieces of the routine. I imagine when a community member dies, there is some period of quite, then the promenade resumes.
I could sit in the town for weeks watching this same ritual over and over.