Monday, October 1, 2018




“... A cradle of masterworks
you are in my eyes, Ragusa,
while the moon caresses your domes
and light effects spread around the air
when the day goes down...”


An embroidery of beauties Ancient Greece
made on your very face,
where the old necropolises
in mount Rito are shown
by my age and its memory looks out
onto experiences preserved by the centuries.
Swabians, Normans, and Aragonese 9
planted seeds of development,
of death and rebirth
stepped on ancient stones which were burnt by the sun,
and witnessed the tremor of the earth 10
that pulverized houses, churches, and palaces
in an apocalyptic scenery.

During the Ancient Greek period, Ragusa was named Hybla Heraia in honor of Hera, goddess who protected the fields; the city was ruled by the Greeks many times.

In 1090 a great popular insurrection, supported by Norman spies, permanently chased the Arabians away from the whole Ragusan area, activating a cruel hunting for invaders. Since the Norman period, the city was ruled, except for some brief interruptions, by several earls, even during Angevin andAragonese dominations, thanks to the ancient privileges that in 1091 the
Great Earl Roger granted to his son Goffredo, first Earl of Ragusa, who
could govern it with great autonomy.

On January 11th, 1693, a devastating earthquake destroyed the ancient city and provoked about five thousand deaths on a population of thirteen thousand citizens.

You reawaken, Ibla,
dreams of curious travellers, whose eyes
lay down on wonderful arches and portals,
on balconies sustained by satanic figures,
on marquetry and battlements of your splendid church
a destination for Saint George Martyr devotees: 12
fiction characters set the scene
carrying away baroque civilizations and beauties,
human feelings and the turmoil of life.
Like a mother
you stretch out your arms, Ibla,
towards the horizon coming out from your womb,
where the tolling of the Cathedral
has been calling for centuries
joyful generations of people.
You shine, Ibla,
like a jewel on a woman’s finger,
you’re wrapped in a blanket of beauty
never worn out by the time
and the negligence of people.

The Cathedral of Saint George is one of the highest examples of Baroque architecture in the world; the ancient church was located on the east side of the built-up area, and its ancient gate is still there. It was built again in place of the church of Saint Nicholas, which followed the Greek rite until the XVI century. The famous architect Rosario Gagliardi was charged with the plan.
Its being located on the top of a high staircase and being posited obliquely in respect to the underlying square, highlights its majesty and plastic effects.


A cradle of masterworks
you are in my eyes, Ragusa,
while the moon caresses your domes
and light effects spread around the air
when the day goes down.
An atmosphere of pleasing beauty
comes from the Cathedral 14
lying on the sleeping city,
the silent bell tower watches over
the balustrade of the pensile churchyard,
where the time received sweat and tears
from men and women during the centuries.
Traces of ancient necropolises
left in the bottom of your heart
foreign dominations, that you now preserve
in a chest of memories.

The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist is one of the biggest in Sicily; before the earthquake it was located on the west side of the city, under the castle walls. It has a majestic facade, full of carvings and sculptures, it is divided in five parts by huge columns; on its left side a bell tower is located and
rises to more than 50 metres. Its interior has a Latin cross plan and an apsed chancel, it is divided in three wide naves with fourteen columns in Ragusan pitched stone.

Tabuna, Monte Rito, Balatelle
were born in your maternal womb,
challenged the weapons of Romans and Normans,
and a violent tremor of the earth
divided for many years the path of your people.
Now that the astute pride of a man 16
could sanctify you
in the splendour of a county town,
you live in the brightness of Baroque
seducing the eyes of the passers-by
and you widen the thoughts of your children
scattered all over the world.
You, Ragusa,
cherish us between two worlds,
call enchanted visions to our mind
and open your heart to life
with the song of your beauty.

In 1927, thanks to the well know fascist, Filippo Pennavaria, Ragusa was named as a county town (Modica was supposed to be a county town because of the number of its citizens; however Ragusa joined up Ibla and gained over Modica).


When an evening in May Ponte Vecchio,
a creature born in a Capuchin heart,
through the valley that once was an obstacle to our fathers
recalls a time for dreams,
the air becomes sweet for me as well,
and the swallows fly back again
to the mouldings of buildings.
From Ponte vecchio to Littorio
walking around thoughtful, with a soft and light pace.

Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), or Ponte dei Cappuccini (Capuchin Bridge,also known as Ponte Padre Scopetta), is the oldest bridge in Ragusa and crosses vallata Santa Domenica (Saint Dominica valley), connecting the historical centre with the Southern side of the city. At the beginning of the
XIX century, there was a need to put San Giovanni (Saint John) district together with the small built-up part which was growing up on the other side of vallata Santa Domenica, near the Capuchin convent. Padre Gianbattista Occhipinti Scopetta, belonging to the homonimous Occhipinti family and known as “Scopetta”, a well-known nickname in Ragusan area, sponsored  the work, which started in 1837 and finished in 1843. (Cfr.:htpp:// Ponte_Vecchio_(Ragusa).

Ponte Nuovo (New Bridge) or Ponte F. Pennavaria (also known as Ponte del Littorio, Lictorial Bridge), is a bridge in Ragusa.. It was the second one crossing vallata Santa Domenica, and becoming the main arterial road between the historical centre and the Southern side of the city. In 1932, Ragusa municipality announced a competition for designing a second bridge over vallata Santa Domenica, since Ponte Vecchio was insufficient for the traffic of that period. The roman engineer Aurelio Aureli won the competition and the money were found by the government undersecretary Filippo Pennavaria. (Cfr.: htpp:// wiki/ Ponte_ Nuovo_ (Ragusa)

I discover your ancient districts, Ragusa,
where human hands put down in the past
a seed of faith.
From on high the landscape is magic,
muttering trees caressed by the evening warmth,
sparkles sparkling on Ponte nuovo
whereon I’m walking very slowly
and my eyes are stretching out on the valley
which is ready to fall
asleep in the night.

Your bridges,  Ragusa,
invite every heart to open up
recall heavenly ancestries,
sing a song of sympathetic friendship,
mourn the demise of young people who rejected life,
dream of love when emotionless people pass.
City of bridges, please,
on your face caressed by the silence
where the moon shines, let life start again
for the hard-working people
while their soul, in certainty and trust
looks for the good and communion.

Ponte Papa Giovanni XXIII (Pope John XXIII Bridge) is the third bridge in Ragusa and trespassed vallata Santa Domenica, which separates the historical centre from the Southern side of the city. It was completed in 1964,one year after the deat of Pope John. It is also known as Ponte Nuovissimo
(Very New Bridge), since it was built after Ponte Vecchio (1843) and Ponte
Nuovo (1937). It connects Carmine with Cappuccini district. (Cfr.:htpp:// Ponte_ Papa_ Giovanni


THESE POEMS ARE PUBLISHED IN Odes tho the twelve lands. A stringed wind from the Ibleans, Armando Siciliano Editore, Messina, 2016.

DOMENICO PISANA, Born in Modica in 1958, Doctor of Moral Theology, he is the founder and President of the Quasimodo Coffee Cafe in Modica. Poet, literary critic and essayist with several works translated entirely into Polish, Spanish, Romanian and English, he published 9 volumes of poetry, 6 books of literary criticism, among which stands the essay on Quasimodo That Nobel from the South - Salvatore Quasimodo between glory and oblivion, translated, in 2011, in Romanian. He also published 11 texts of a theological and ethical nature, among which the volume, published by San Paolo editions, stands out. On your word I will throw the networks, translated into Polish and Spanish, as well as "3 volumes of historical-political character. In 2006 the Municipal Administration and the Pro Loco of Modica awarded him the Gold Medal of the "Premio della Modicanità"; nominated for several awards, in November 2016 he was awarded the "Premio Federico II" to culture; in January 2017 he received the "European FARFA Prize" for culture and territory, awarded to him by the International Association of Literary Critics based in Paris; in September 2017 he was awarded the "Magister Vitae" Prize for the contribution to culture in San Vito Lo Capo (Trapani) as part of the 5th Edition of the Vito Ruggiriello Memorial. Of the works of Pisana we report only those translated into Polish, Spanish, Romanian and English: Na twojw slowa zarzuce sieci, Polish edition 1999, 4K PHUP Sp.z.o.o., Bytom, Poland, 1999; En tu palabra echaré las redes, San Pablo, Santafe De Bogota, D.C., 1999; Acel Nobel venit din South. Salvatore Quasimodo intre glorie siui tare, Iunimea, Iasi, Bucharest, 2011; Odes tho the twelve lands. A stringed wind from the Ibleans, Armando Siciliano Editore, Messina, 2016.

DOMENICO PISANA,  nato a Modica nel 1958, Dottore in Teologia Morale, è  fondatore e  Presidente del Caffè Letterario Quasimodo  di Modica. Poeta, critico letterario e saggista con diverse opere  tradotte integralmente in polacco, spagnolo, rumeno e inglese,   ha pubblicato 9 volumi di poesie,  6 libri di critica letteraria, tra i quali spicca  il saggio su Quasimodo Quel Nobel venuto dal Sud – Salvatore Quasimodo tra gloria ed oblio , tradotto, nel 2011, in rumeno.  Ha pubblicato, altresì, 11 testi di carattere teologico ed etico, tra i quali spicca il volume, edito dalla San Paolo, Sulla tua parola getterò le reti , tradotto in polacco e spagnolo, nonché “ 3 volumi di carattere storico-politico.  Nel 2006  l’Amministrazione Comunale e la Pro Loco di Modica lo hanno insignito della Medaglia d’oro del “Premio alla Modicanità”;  candidato a diversi riconoscimenti, nel novembre del 2016 gli è stato assegnato il “Premio Sicilia Federico II” alla cultura;   nel gennaio 2017 ha ricevuto il “Premio Europeo FARFA” per la cultura e il territorio, assegnatogli dall’Associazione Internazionale dei Critici Letterari con sede a Parigi; nel settembre del 2017 gli è stato conferito a San Vito Lo Capo(Trapani)  il Premio “Magister Vitae” per il contributo alla cultura nell’ambito della V Edizione del Memorial Vito Ruggiriello. Delle opere di  Pisana segnaliamo solo  quelle tradotte in polacco, spagnolo, rumeno e inglese: Na twojw slowa zarzuce sieci, Polish edition 1999, 4K PHUP Sp.z.o.o., Bytom, Polonia, 1999; En tu palabra echaré las redes, San Pablo, Santafe De Bogota, D.C.,1999; Acel Nobel venit din Sud. Salvatore Quasimodo intre glorie siui tare, Iunimea, Iasi, Bucarest, 2011; Odes tho the twelve lands. A stringed wind from the Ibleans, Armando Siciliano Editore, Messina, 2016.

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