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Sicilian cart apprentice explains cart painting to young boy in workshop in Ragusa, Sicily.

Ragusa with Kids – Sicilian Carts and a Garden Playground!

Updated on January 15, 2024

If you’re in Sicily’s Val di Noto with your family, don’t miss a stop in the historic center of Ragusa Ibla – the older, lower part of Ragusa.

Yes, I know it’s tough with so many amazing places for kids in the area like Modica (tasting chocolate!), Scicli (exploring caves!), and Caltagirone (making ceramics!), beaches, and castles, but make time for Ragusa!

This city (Ragusa) holds a special place in my heart because my last name is like ‘Smith’ here. I first visited in 2004, and I recently returned with two of my children and my father (and they all had a blast in town).

But even though you may not see your name plastered around town, if you’re coming to Ragusa with kids, be sure to check out our favorite things to see and do!

Close up of painted Sicilian cart.
Close up of a Sicilian cart in Ragusa

My Quick Tips for Ragusa with Kids:
Visit in the evening.
See Cinabro Carrettieri and spend time at the Giardini Iblei playground.
Have dinner at That’s A Moro and gelato at Gelato Divini.

Where Exactly is Ragusa?

Ragusa is in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Val di Noto (Noto Valley), in the southeastern corner of Sicily.

Map of Ragusa, Sicily

Ragusa vs Ragusa Ibla

Ragusa is divided into two distinct parts: Ragusa Superiore (the upper, newer part of town) and Ragusa Ibla (the older, lower part of the city). 
I highly recommend focusing your time on Ragusa Ibla, but even if you don’t explore Ragusa Superiore, drive the SS15 just south of town for gorgeous views of Ragusa Ibla (especially magical at night).

When to Visit Ragusa Ibla With Kids

Boys play in Piazza Duomo in winter in Ragusa, Sicily. You can see colorful lights and Christmas tree decorating piazza.
My boys and father on our visit to Ragusa in January

Sicily is HOT in the summer, but I know that’s when most families can travel.  So, if you’re in the area in the summer, it’s best to visit Ragusa in the evening

The day trippers (and big crowds) are gone, you can enjoy cooler temperatures, and locals also come out to let kids play, go for dinner, or go for a stroll.

The main playground in Ragusa Ibla (more on it below) is lit up at night and it’s full of local kids.

Actually, the evening in Ragusa is my preferred time to visit any time of year. 

The winter in Ragusa is definitely quieter, but it’s fun because of the Christmas lights and decorations in the Giardini Iblei and Piazza Pola, and the Christmas tree in Piazza Duomo.

The Best Things to Do with Kids in Ragusa

Play in the Giardini Iblei Playground

Boys playing at playground in Ragusa, Sicily at night.
My boys loved the large playground in the Giardini Iblei

The Giardini Iblei are full of paths, plants, and nooks and crannies for kids to explore.  The highlight, though, is the playground full of local kids (especially on hot summer nights). 

The playground is huge!  It’s got unique climbing structures, spring toys, slides, swings, and more.  My boys could’ve played here for hours (I’m not kidding). 

Helpful Tip:  There’s a free toilet in the gardens. 

Visit Cinabro Carrettieri – Bottega d’Arte

Mom and sons stand in front of Sicilian cart and Cinabro workshop in Ragusa, Sicily.
With my boys at Cinabro Carrettieri – we loved our visit!

This is my must-see in Ragusa (with or without kids). 

This small shop makes the colorful, traditional Sicilian carts that you see on the island.  Step into the workshop and learn about the history and present state of cartmaking in Sicily.  There are only a few of these left (in Catania and Palermo) and the art is slowly dying.  The two men (one is the master, the other his apprentice) are working to keep the tradition alive and the enthusiasm and passion they have for their craft is inspiring!  It’s also amazing to see the photos on the walls, see the tools they use, learn about the process, and see them working! 

The workshop is small and the visit doesn’t last long (so kids will be engaged), but it’s so worth stopping in!  This is one of my favorite things that we did on our recent trip, and my kids bought a small Sicilian cart magnet and still talk about our visit!

Fun Fact:  The shop has worked with Smeg and Dolce & Gabbana and it was photographed by Steve McCurry.  Ask to see the prints!

Good To Know: When we visited the entrance fee was a donation. It’s so worth contributing to the workshop!

Get Gelato at Gelati Divini

This gelateria is fabulous because it suits both kids and adults – kids can have classic flavors and adults can branch out with interesting gusti like olive oil (so good!) and violet.  It’s been around forever (I remember having gelato here in the early 2000s) and the owners are passionate about creating quality gelato with creative flavors.  Perfect accessory for a stroll around the old center.

Take the Trenino

Take the Trenino Barocco (Baroque Train) through town with your kids.  It’s a fun way to see the town and you get to rest your legs for about 30 minutes.  My kids really enjoy these small trains, and we’ve also taken them in Modica and Scicli.  You can put your stroller on the train too.

Find Your Favorite Viewpoint in Ragusa

The viste from the Giardini Iblei are the easiest to see with kids, but if you’re in the mood for a hike up to Ragusa Superiore and its Santa Maria delle Scale church, you’ll be rewarded with the best view of Ragusa Ibla.

Good To Know:  The climb up to Ragusa Superiore is via steps, so don’t bring your stroller!

If you have dinner in Ragusa Ibla, on your drive back to your hotel (if you’re not spending the night in town), take the SS115 and check out the magical view of Ragusa Ibla sung against the hillside.

Look for Gargoyles

Don’t forget to look up while you’re walking around with your kids in the center of Ragusa Ibla.  Can you spot any gargoyles watching over the streets?

Helpful Tip:  Be sure to walk by Palazzo Cosentini.

Say Hello to St. George and the Dragon

Boys playing in front of lit up Duomo di San Giorgio in Ragusa, Sicily.
My boys at the Duomo

Ragusa’s cathedral is called the Duomo di San Giorgio and if your kids are like mine, they’ll love hearing the legend of St. George and the Dragon!  You can have them look for the statue of St. George slaying the dragon inside the Duomo.

My kids also like visiting the Duomo because it feels somewhat adventurous to climb the steps up to the entrance. 

YouTube video

Follow One of the Routes Through Town

On our most recent visit to Ragusa, signs were up around town pointing the direction to sites and showcasing QR codes you can scan to follow a percorso (route) through town:

  • UNESCO Tour
  • Barocco Tour
  • Montalbano Tour
  • Green Tour
Street sign showing monuments and itineraries in Ragusa, Sicily.

What We Do:  On an ideal family trip to Ragusa Ibla, we arrive in the late afternoon or early evening, explore the Giardini Iblei and its playground, visit the Cinabro Carrettieri workshop, and stroll Corso XXV Aprile up to Piazza Duomo.  After, we have a casual dinner in town and gelato at Gelato Divini.

Ragusa with Kids Logistics

Strollers – Ragusa Ibla is stroller-friendly.  The town isn’t flat, so you’ll work on your buns of steel in a couple of places, but you can use your stroller in the town, in the Giardini Iblei, etc. 

Diapers and Baby Supplies – There’s a small supermarket in Piazza Duomo a pharmacy on Via Orfanotrofio.  If you want more selection, Ragusa Superiore has larger grocery stores.

Breastfeeding – There are nice shady places and benches in the Giardini Iblei, or you can find an air-conditioned restaurant or café.

Restaurants – You have your pick of restaurants in Ragusa Ibla, from casual to Michelin-starred restaurants.  Kid-friendly restaurants in town include:

  • That’s A Moro (Largo Camarina, 5) – Colorful restaurant that’s full of art.  Kids can order pasta and it comes in a Sicily-shaped dish!  Pizza, pasta, and more. Sit outdoors on a summer eve!
  • Trattoria La Bettola (Largo Camerina, 7) – Next door to That’s A Moro, this cozy and casual trattoria serves up typical Sicilian dishes.  The caponata is amazing!  This is an easy place to eat with kids and the waiters and staff are easy-going.
  • Osteria del Pane Cunzato (Chiasso di Marco, 2) – Tucked in a little side street by the Iblei Gardens, this small shop makes excellent takeaway panini, cannoli, and arancini.  The sandwiches are made with the local bread – pane cunzato.  You can also eat at the small tables out front.

You may want to read about
Diapers in Italy
Pharmacies in Italy
Grocery Stores in Italy
Strollers in Italy

How to Get to Ragusa Ibla with Kids in Tow

While you can reach Ragusa by public transport, I recommend arriving by car. 

The train station is in Ragusa Superiore, around a 45 minute walk (2.5 km) from Ragusa Ibla’s Piazza Duomo, so it would be best to take a taxi, but then you have to worry about car seats.

If you drive your own car, you have the flexibility to come and go when you like, you can bring kid gear (like a stroller) easily, and you can use your car to explore other kid-friendly places in the area (more info below).

Ragusa makes for a great Day Trip from Taormina

Parking in Ragusa Ibla

If you want to go straight to the playground, you can park in the lot just below it.  I like parking here for a couple of reasons:  there are ramps to get up to the gardens (so you don’t have to carry your stroller up steps), and you walk uphill toward the Duomo and center (so downhill back to your car, when kids are most tired).

Ragusa has EasyPark (the app), so you can top up your parking from your phone, which is handy if you’re in the center with kids.

I’ve also parked along Via Margherita, but pay attention to ZTL signs (usually only active at night in Ragusa Ibla) and parking signs. 

Read more about
Renting a Car in Sicily
Driving in Sicily

Things to See & Do with Your Kids Near Ragusa Ibla

Kids playing at Sampieri beach in Sicily.
My boys playing at Sampieri Beach

Modica – Taste the town’s unique chocolate and wander the old town center.  Learn more in our guide to Modica with Kids.

Scicli – Learn about the cave dwellings and check out gargoyles.  Read more in our guide to One Day in Scicli.

Beaches – Head to Sampieri, Donnalucata, or Marina di Ragusa for some splashing in the water! 

Castello di Donnafugata (Donnafugata Castle) – Visit inside the castle and explore the grounds and the Costume Museum (MU.DE.CO – Museo del Costume).

I hope you enjoy your visit to Ragusa with your children!  And, if you like it, you may want to check out Matera on your next visit to Italy.

Need help deciding where to go in Italy with your family? Read
Best Places to Visit in Italy with Kids
Best Things to Do in Italy with Kids
Realistic 10 Day Itineraries for Italy with Kids

Ragusa with Kids FAQ

Quiet street at night in winter in Ragusa, Sicily.
Should I take my kids to see the Duomo in Ragusa?

If your kids enjoy checking out churches, go for it.  You can also talk about St. George and the Dragon and have your kids find the statue inside.

Is Modica or Ragusa better with kids?

I’d pick Ragusa for the Sicilian cart shop, the playground, gelateria, pedestrian areas, and evening atmosphere. However, if you have chocolate loving kids, you may want to go to Modica (know that the chocolate is atypical and grainy – but delicious!).

What’s the difference between the Giardino Ibleo and the Giardini Iblei?

They’re the same place – the large garden on the eastern edge of Ragusa Ibla.  You may also hear them called the Ibleo Garden or Ibleo Gardens.  Don’t miss a stop in the gardens if you’re in Ragusa!

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