On the outskirts of Echternach is located one of the largest and richest estates of the northwestern provinces of the Roman Empire. The completely excavated manor house, measuring 118 x 62 m, was probably a palace. It had 40-70 rooms on the ground floor alone, provided with peristyles, courtyards, basins, marble facing, mosaic pavement and underfloor heating. This magnificent estate consisted of at least ten more buildings, which regularly lined up left and right of the estate wall and were discovered through aerial photographs and geophysical prospecting. Visitors can embark on inspecting the well-preserved basements, cellars and ornamental ponds of the estate, which resurrects in all its splendour thanks to numerous digital reconstructions. More than 70 medicinal and ornamental plants as well as a pergola covered with vines are displayed in a Roman garden.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.