Hingene Castle was the summer residence of the House of Ursel. The Dukes of Ursel and their family resided for 350 years on the estate. A famous resident was Conrard-Albert, first Duke of Ursel (1665-1738). His son the second duke asked Giovani Nicolano Servandoni (1695-1766) to redesign the family estate. The front was made symmetric like a palace.
The duke received important noblemen here, such as Johan von Sinzendorf und Pottendorf (1739-1813) and Joseph de Ferraris. During the 18th century the castle was known for banquets and balls. Marriages in the family were celebrated by the whole village, the dukes usually being well regarded locally. Around 1960 the castle was sold by the Duke of Ursel, the furniture and contents of the library were removed from the castle. The House of Ursel left the town, and chose to reside henceforth in Brussels.
In 1994 the province of Antwerp obtained ownership and restored the estate to its 17th century state. The Duke of Ursel gave an important part of the original interior back to the castle.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.