Tiglieto Abbey, founded in 1120, was the first Cistercian abbey to be founded in Italy, and also the first outside France. It was a daughter house of La Ferté Abbey. The first abbot was probably Opizzone. It may have gained the name Tiglieto after being given the estate of that name by the Margrave Anselm of Ponsone in 1131.
In 1442, through Pope Eugenius IV, Tiglieto became an abbey in commendam. In 1648 it was turned into a family estate of the last commendatory abbot, Cardinal Raggio, and dissolved. In 1747 the area was occupied by the Austrians, who shortly afterwards were driven out by the Genoese. In 2000 Tiglieto was reoccupied by the Cistercians.
The church is a primitive Romanesque brick basilica; the original side-chapels were removed in the 14th century to make way for a new east end. The nave was vaulted in the Baroque period, and a new choir at the west end was added at the same time, as was a Baroque campanile.
The conventual buildings are to the south of the church. The early Gothic chapter house in the east range has survived, with a square chapter room with nine bays from the early 13th century and symmetrical triforium windows looking onto the central courtyard and the site of the cloister, no longer extant, with the dormitory with bricked-up windows in the upper storey, as have the sacristy, the Fraternei and to the south the refectory building, as well as the lay brothers' block in the west, now converted for residential purposes.
The entire precinct was renovated for the new community that took over the premises in 2000.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.