Marina di Ragusa has about four thousand residents and is the jewel in the crown of the Municipality of Ragusa. For centuries the original name was Mazzarelli, which in ancient Sicilian means "small ports". It only assumed the current name in 1928. From the 16th century its cliffs (now the marina) were used for trade by sea mainly with the island of Malta. To protect this activity, the owner built a tower to guard against the pirates, who from time to time landed in the district and plundered it.
Around the tower a small village began to develop, but it was only in the nineteenth century that it took the appearance of a small seaside town inhabited by humble fishermen and farmers. At the end of the nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century, the aristocracy of Ragusa began to build holiday houses still visible today. (Casina Nifosì, home of the Acquilini; Casina Arezzo, Casina Schininà, Palazzo La Rocca-Impellizzeri, Casina Criscione)
In the nineteen twenties and thirties, the current church was built and in 1931 the monument to the fallen of the First (and later Second) World War was installed. The turning point, for Marina di Ragusa, begins in the 1950s. In this period Italy was living its economic boom and with the widespread well being, the fashion of the house by the sea begins to spread. Thus small village of fishermen and peasants slowly transforms into a holiday resort. In 1953 the Andrea Doria promenade was built and in the 1960s the Mediterranean promenade. The first chalets on the beaches are born, the first tourist-recreational facilities, the elegant villas multiply, while new neighbourhoods enlarge the small village. In 1985, faced with this building expansion the "Irminio River Nature Reserve" was created, which today still consists of the beautiful Mediterranean scrub and a rich and varied native fauna.
The building expansion that began in the last century still continues. Meanwhile the area has been enlarged with various types of recreational facilities, which include hotels, holiday homes, B&Bs, chalets, restaurants, bars. In 2009 the new tourist port was inaugurated, it is among the biggest in Southern Italy and the historic centre has been renovated as a pedestrian precinct.
Despite its modernity, the village preserves its traditional festivals. In the month of March, St. Joseph is celebrated with a traditional procession through the streets. Even more characteristic is the festival of "Maria di Portosalvo" on August 15th. For the occasion, the "wood at sea" is truly evocative. It is attended by many young people who, on board a fishing boat, compete to take a flag at the end of a pole sprinkled with grease. Even more impressive, on the same day, is the sea procession of the statue of the Madonna and the fireworks that end the party. In the last few decades "The Goodbye to Summer" has been added to the two traditional festivals, the culmination of which is the competition, among different firms, of fireworks with a final winner.
Some period houses, squares and other places in Marina di Ragusa have been used as film settings and for the successful television series Inspector Montalbano. Clearly it can be said that today the village is the most important tourist resort of the Hyblaean coast and probably the whole of South Eastern Sicily.
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