Chiaramonte Gulfi is located on a hill about 700 meters from the sea. It is called the balcony of Sicily because of its panoramic position, in fact from here it is possible to admire the Gulf of Gela, MountEtna, the Iblei mountains and the sea. Let’s start with a small description of the town, and then give some advice on what to see in Chiaramonte Gulfi.
Chiaramonte Gulfi was founded in the XII-XIII century but was then destroyed in 1299 by the Angevins. The town was then re-founded only a century later thanks to Count Manfredi I Chiaramonte of Modica, who obviously decided to celebrate himself and gave it his own name. Due to the terrible earthquake of 1693 Chiaramonte Gulfi was heavily damaged and therefore had to rise from the ashes as in the past, after the Angevin attack. However, the reconstruction did not change the original medieval road structure, characterized by small alleys and stairways.
Going back to more recent times, Chiaramonte Gulfi had to fight another enemy, fire. In fact, the (arson) summer fires of 2018 and 2019 reduced part of the beautiful pine forest that surrounds the town to ashes. We hope that with time it can return to its old splendor. Let’s go now to find out what to see in Chiaramonte Gulfi.
1. The historic center and the Duomo
The baroque village can be easily visited on foot. Just park near the historic center and then lose yourself in its alleys, which recall the medieval past of this town.
For example, walking along Corso Umberto I you will be able to admire elegant palaces of the eighteenth / nineteenth century, and then find yourself in the beautiful Piazza Duomo. Here stands the Church of Santa Maria la Nova, which was built in the fifteenth century and then rebuilt in the eighteenth and you can also visit the Museum of historical-military relics, which preserves war relics ranging from 1863 to the Second World War.
2. Palazzo Montesano and the museums
Instead, in the 18th-century Palazzo Montesano you will find as many as five museums (Chiaramonte is called the city of museums, it has as many as 8 in total): the Museum of Ethnic-Musical Instruments, with hundreds of instruments from all over the world; the House Museum of Art Nouveau; the Ornithological Museum, with more than 600 stuffed animals; the Oil Museum, which displays machinery for processing oil (a typical product of Chiaramonte Gulfi); and finally the Giovanni De Vita Picture Gallery, with works by the author (1906-90), who was born in Chiaramonte.
3. The churches
In the oldest part of the village, walking down the steps of Via San Giovanni, you will find the Arch of the Annunziata, which was one of the 3 gates of ancient Chiaramonte Gulfi that remained unscathed by the 1693 earthquake. Past the archway next to the steps of St. John’s is the Sicilian Parade Museum, which preserves period tools and antique embroidery.
At the end of the steps on San Giovanni Street, you will find yourself in the highest part of the village, where you can admire the church of St. John the Baptist and the pine forest of Mount Arcibessi. The church was built in the 18th century on the site where the medieval castle destroyed by the earthquake once stood. It was built on a previous early Christian church, the remains of which are still visible near the main altar. Inside it houses an ancient statue of the Madonna of the sixteenth century.
If you still have time you can also go and see the small Church of San Vito and take a relaxing walk in the municipal garden and admire the view.
What and where to eat in Chiaramonte Gulfi
Chiaramonte Gulfi is world famous for the DOP “Monti Iblei” olive oil and wine such as Gulfi. The food par excellence is pork, which is almost revered here and cooked with art and skill: sausages, stuffed ribs, salami, and more. If you want to buy some typical products, shops and shops are located around the center in the Corso Umberto and Piazza Duomo area.
A very good restaurant where to eat all these typical products is the Majore, very well reviewed.
The town is still part of the Ragusa area, which generally offers many other quality dishes. Here are some tips on what to eat in Ragusa and surroundings .
Here instead you find the typical Sicilian dishes and products in general.
Activities loved by tourists in the surrounding area or in Sicily in general
Interactive map of Chiaramonte Gulfi – Points of interest in purple
To locate yourself once in the area, click on the enlarge symbol at the top right of the map.
What to see around Chiaramonte Gulfi
Chiaramonte Gulfi is located near Ragusa. If you want to find out what to see in the surroundings, you can then take a look at this page, where you can find what to see around Ragusa .