High on a narrow limestone hill surrounded by deep river gorges, the older part of Ragusa is a maze of cobbled streets and light cream coloured limestone buildings adorned with balconies, statues and shutters. It is very old and rightly a world UNESCO heritage site. The square in front of the cathedral slopes steeply upwards towards the cathedral steps and narrow alleyways twist and turn linked by narrow steep flights of steps up and down the hillslopes. Around every corner are stunning views across terracotta tile roof tops and roof terraces.
Streets come alive in lower Ragusa around the main cathedral piazza from seven in evening. Children play in the street, football, Italian style.....ignoring tourists, lots of yelling, gesticulating, dives onto the floor and good natured argument. Teenage girls and boys chat each other up with much laughter and many smiles, mobile phones glued to their hands. It is fascinating to watch teenage courtship rituals ongoing whilst each furtively look at their mobile phones frequently......they call it romance. I think I am getting old!
As the sun sets and the streets are bathed in warm lamplight, more people come out. They sit on street chairs, on pavements, below fountains. Animated chatter and lots and lots of laughter, for Italians have such a zest for life. Heads bowed towards each other, intent eye contact, smiles, shrugs of shoulders, waving of arms. Glasses tinkle at pavement ristorante.
Italians, of course, dress with flair and style. They make the simplest clothes look so chic. Evenings are a fashion parade as well as a social gathering with family.
In the meantime, a wizened, grey haired, stooped elderly grandfather sits on a public bench, his young granddaughters at his feet as he tells them stories. They are transfixed for he is a good story teller. His hand lovingly pats the head of one and then fingers brush lightly the cheek of another and he is rewarded with beaming smiles. They clearly dote on him.
Family life at sunset, shared on the streets of Ragusa.