its town centre rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake, Ispica guards many
treasures: its very beautiful churches and palaces. This aspect of
Ispica, almost unknown until a few years ago, is now being promoted.
In the old ages Ispica was known and is still known today for a natural
landscape unique in Sicily: its gully, a very ancient inhabited area
populated by the Siculi. It is an interesting place full of culture
and history that was loved and studied by many archaeologists and
Ispicas gully: The Fortilitium
The long and deep natural calcareous gorge
known as Cava DIspica is a very suggestive place. It is a sunny
and wild landscape, a narrow valley that sometimes narrows into a
gorge, sometimes widens
into a valley. It is the most beautiful and magnificent gully in Eastern
Sicily. These uncontaminated spaces, populated since the most ancient
prehistoric ages have been studied and painted by Romantic historians,
painters and eighteenth century travellers. Time and mens work
have changed some places, as you can see from Christian catacombs
and from the Palazzeddu, popularly called the castle, where
the corridors, the upright stairs and some structures sculpted on
the rock have been altered; yet the gully is still a spectacular place.
The gully has all the characteristics of the Hyblaean land: the tender
limestone that forms it and made it easy to sculpt, the proximity
to the sea that made it easy to get at, the different civilisations
that followed one another and the unrepeatable landscape of the gullies.
The town and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
was called Spaccaforno until 1935. The most famous work of art in
Ispica is the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore which has become a
national monument thanks to the paintings of Olivio Sozzi and Vito
DAnna kept inside this church. The fašade of the church shows
the coat of arms of the Statella family, the descendants of the King
of France Robert, Duke of Burgundy, who owned the feud of Spaccaforno
from 1493 to the XIX century.