Montemayor del Río Castle probably doesn't date back to before the 15th century, and has more the character of a palace than of a strength. It has two existing enclosures. From the outer one only the entrance, flanked by two turrets, remains. The inner has an irregular groundplan, adapted to the outline of the land it was build on.
In the interior two floor levels can still be traced which were arranged around a central patio. In the left wall a large chimney is conserved, evidence of habitation.
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.