Ragusa is divided in two by a deep gorge. The old city called Ragusa Ibla (named after the Iblei mountains) and Ragusa Superiore (the modern upper town) were created after the devastating earthquake of 1693 split the city in two. Ragusa Ibla with its network of ancient narrow streets and alleys was reconstructed from the city ruins maintaining its medieval city plan with the addition of new buildings and monuments that transformed it into a gem of Baroque architecture which was the style greatly favoured by the architects of this period. A fine example is the famous church the Basilica di San Giorgio built in 1739 by Rosario Gagliardi one of the leading architects of this time.
Ragusa Superiore was built in line with 18th century standards with wide straight and symmetrical streets at the heart of which lies the richly decorated cathedral of San Giovanni Battista.