The ancient Roman town of Turris Libisonis, located at the mouth of the Rio Mannu was the precursor to the current Porto Torres. This had been a Roman colony since the 1st century BC and, of all the estates belonging to the Republic and the Empire, it was the only one inhabited by Roman citizens: it proudly held the name of Iulia, linked to the figure of Julius Cesar or of Augustus.
Under the long Roman dominion, the town underwent several urban renewals: building of the road system, three thermal baths, an aqueduct and the creation of a port where trade relationships with Ostia took place. The colony, between the end of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, was second only to Caralis for number of inhabitants, grandeur and maritime traffic. Buildings that will surprise you with their architectural perfection and evocative power are the domus di Orfeo and the Terme di Pallottino thermal baths as well as the central ones, in an area known as Palazzo di Re Barbaro, in which you will find large rooms with baths and elegant mosaics. Between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, the building activity was intensified: you can admire the evolution of these activities as well as the remains of marble decorations, bas-reliefs and statues. In the archaeological area, you will find the remains of dwellings grouped into blocks and tabernae (workshops). The buildings are delimited by paved roads and are partly incorporated and visible in the Antiquarium Turritano, a museum located in a building within this area, not far from the thermal baths, where artefacts and relics found during the excavations are kept: pottery, funeral urns, inscriptions and mosaics.
Around the ancient town, there are vast necropolises: one to the west, on a shore of the Rio Mannu rivulet and another to south, below the current town, while to the east, on the seafront, including the hypogaeum of Tanca Borgona, there are the funerary complexes of Scogliolungo and San Gavino a mare and the tombs of Balai. The graves range from the early Imperial age to the early Christian period, while there is an almost completely intact Roman bridge over the river with seven elegant arches, making it an exceptional feat of engineering.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.